The institution

Mission

The FPB is an independent public agency which forecasts, studies and analyses policy measures. Its main mission is to support the political decision-making process. For that purpose, it shares its expertise with the government, parliament, social partners and national and international institutions. The FPB carries out studies and projections on economic, social and environmental policy issues and on the integration of these policies within a context of sustainable development.

Activities

Forecasts

  • Short-term economic forecasts, used by the federal government to draw up its budget
  • Outlooks for the Belgian economy over a 5-year period. These outlooks analyse in particular the future of the main branches of industry, employment and public finances.
  • Long-term projections of the demographic evolution of our society and of the financial impact of population-ageing
  • Energy consumption and production outlooks, as well as forecasts of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Long-term outlooks for transport demand for passenger and freight transport.

Analyses

  • Ex ante and ex post analyses of the economic and social effects of policy measures such as the pen-sion reforms, of shocks such as the increase in oil prices and of macroeconomic or structural trends such as the acceleration of technological progress
  • Analyses of the impact of European energy and climate policy on the energy system and on the Belgian economy
  • Ex post analyses of the challenges and strategies for sustainable development
  • Alternative scenarios for sustainable development to reach the objectives fixed in the long-term vision adopted by the federal government

Research

  • Economic, social and environmental indicators, as well as statistical descriptions of the Belgian economy such as input-output tables, environmental accounts and mobility and transport indicators
  • Decision-making tools supporting the federal mobility and transport policy
  • Topical themes in collaboration with Belgian and foreign research institutions as well as participa-tion in the activities of international organizations such as the European Commission, the OECD, the IMF and the UN.

Who are we for?

Most of the FPB’s activities are legally defined. Other studies are carried out at the request of the government, social partners and parliament. The FPB can also undertake projects at its own initiative within the framework of research contracts or conventions with third parties. The FPB publishes the results of its studies, ensures their dissemination and thus contributes to the democratic debate.

How?

The FPB adheres to an approach characterized by independence, transparency and the defence of the general interest. It uses high-quality data, scientific methods and the empirical validation of analyses.

A brief history

When the FPB was founded on 14 October 1959, it bore the name “Programming Bureau”. Its mission was to develop an economic policy framework, which had been lacking until then, by submitting proposals to the Ministerial Committee for Economic and Social Coordination. In 1970, the Programming Bureau’s name was changed to “Planning Bureau”, in accordance with the law of 15 July of that same year. The economic programmes were replaced with economic plans, marked by a more formalized approach and regional components. From 1980 onward, the Planning Bureau abandoned its former approach and focused on drawing up economic projections and impact studies on different subjects. In 1994, in the wake of the fourth Belgian state reform, the Planning Bureau’s name was once more changed, to the “Federal Planning Bureau”.

 

 Related documents

Organisation

Structure

The FPB is directed by the Plan Commissioner, Philippe Donnay, and the Deputy Commissioner, Jan Verschooten.

The FPB's research is carried out in two departments: the General Directorate and the Sectoral Directorate. The Administrative Department provides administrative support.

The organisational chart of the FPB is available in these PDF files:

The General Directorate

Head of the directorate: Michel EnglertDeputies: Igor Lebrun

The General Directorate works on studies which require a global approach and which focus on macroeconomic coherence. It comprises four teams, with the following fields of activity:

 Macroeconomic forecasts and analyses

Coordinator: Filip Vanhorebeek

This team produces short-term and medium-term economic forecasts for Belgium as well as scenario analyses. The short-term macroeconomic forecasts (for the next 4 to 6 quarters) are drawn up for the federal government within the framework of the preparation of the federal budget and of the budget review. These forecasts are also known as the “economic budget”. Moreover, the team draws up monthly inflation forecasts. The medium-term forecasts (with a time horizon of 5 to 6 years) have a macrosectoral scope and include, besides labour market and public finances analyses, an important energy and environmental component. These projections are drawn up at regional and national level. Finally, the scenario analyses are aimed at assessing the impact of exogenous shocks or economic policy measures.

Related themes

 Labour market

Coordinator: Luc Masure

These studies are specifically aimed at medium-term and long-term outlooks and projections, including the assessment of measures or reforms in the labour market, such as cuts in social security contributions or wage subsidies. They are based on a thorough examination of current evolutions and draw from highly detailed databases.

Related themes

 Public finances

Coordinator: Michel Saintrain

The analyses of this team are mainly aimed at the accounts and budgets of the different levels of government, the financial interactions between those levels, the elaboration of detailed forecasts for public finances and the examination of structural trends in budget policy and public debt. As part of the collaboration between the FPB and the National Accounts Institute, the team contributes to drawing up the government account in the national accounting. Finally, the team also carries out thematic studies on topics such as public employment.

Related themes

 Social protection, demography and prospective studies

Coordinator: Saskia Weemaes

This team’s studies involve outlooks for social protection from a budgetary and social point of view:  the assessment of the budgetary costs of ageing, the calculation of social indicators (poverty, inequality), impact assessments of reforms and the simulation of alternative scenarios for economic and social policy measures. The majority of these activities are based on population projections, which are drawn up annually in collaboration with Statistics Belgium.

Related themes

The Sectoral Directorate

Head of the directorate: Joost VerlindenDeputies: Bart Hertveldt

Sectoral, structural and economic issues are studied within the Sectoral Directorate. Since 1997, sustainable development has also been included.

 Structural studies

Coordinator: Chantal Kegels

A better comprehension of the structural evolutions of the Belgian economy and of its integration in both Europe and the world is essential to identify the key factors in long-term growth. The structural studies tackle, in particular, the sectoral evolution of productivity and its determinants: technology and capital accumulation, innovation and technological development, entrepreneurialism and market functioning. Furthermore, they analyse the effect of Belgian and European regulation, of international trade and of globalisation on economic growth opportunities in the long term.

Related themes

 Sectoral and environmental accounts and analyses

Coordinator: Bart Hertveldt

The input-output tables, the environmental economic accounts and other satellite accounts of the national accounts are drawn up with a view to carrying out sectoral and intersectoral analyses.

Related themes

 Energy and transport

Coordinator: Dominique Gusbin

In addition to drawing up the Belgian energy outlook, this team analyses and studies particular matters pertaining to four main themes: 1) the natural gas and electricity industry, 2) the energy mix, 3) energy prices and 4) energy and sustainable development. For transport, its work includes the construction and management of a database for mobility and transport indicators, and the development and use of a projection model for the Belgian transport demand. As a result of these activities, the evolution of transport and the impact of policy measures are analysed and the transport satellite accounts are drawn up.   

Related themes

 Sustainable development

Coordinator: Alain Henry

The Taskforce Sustainable Development is charged with the assessment of the current situation and the policy pursued for sustainable development. It constructs sustainable development scenarios to reach the objectives fixed in the long-term vision adopted by the federal government in 2013. These activities are carried out within the framework of the law of 5 May 1997 on the coordination of the federal policy on sustainable development and provide the basis for the recurring publication of the Federal Reports on Sustainable Development.

Related themes

The Administrative Department

Head of the department: Jan Verschooten

The Administrative Department provides support activities. It is composed of different cells: informatics, translation, human resources, communication & publication and budget & accounting.

Partners

The FPB has close links with the main national and international institutions for economic analysis and information. It also aims to stay in close contact with all organisations involved in the themes it studies (FPS Mobility and Transport, FPS Social Security, etc.).

As such, the FPB attends committee meetings on a regular basis:

  • on the international level: with international institutions, such as the UN-CSD, the OECD and the European Union;
  • on the national level: with the Central Economic Council (CEC), the National Labour Council, the National Accounts Institute, the High Council for Statistics (HCS), the High Council for Finance, the High Council for Employment, etc.

The FPB is also in close contact with scientific circles as follows:

  • members of the Bureau regularly participate in teaching activities and research programmes;
  • FPB teams cooperate with various universities as part of common national, regional and European research projects;
  • it welcomes high-level university trainees;
  • it involves other experts in FPB activities.

Working Groups and Networks

The Federal Planning Bureau also participates in working groups and networks such as AIECE, ENEPRI, EUKLEMS, HERMREG, NEMESIS and SYMPATIC.

  • AIECE: Association of European Conjuncture Institutes
  • ENEPRI: European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes
  • EU KLEMS: Productivity in the European Union
  • HERMREG: Multiregional and multisectoral model
  • NEMESIS: New Econometric Model for Environment and Strategies Implementation for Sustainable Development
  • SIMPATIC: Social Impact Policy Analysis of Technological Innovation Challenges
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