In the recent past, medium-term projections were given less attention than short-term analyses. However, things appear to have evolved and mid-term prospects seem to be enjoying a renewed interest. Since the outbreak of the financial crisis, many countries have been confronted with large imbalances in terms of high unemployment, unused production capacities or financial deficits. In the longer term, demographic changes, including population ageing, are likely to cause massive changes in the composition of GDP. Addressing these various challenges can only be considered in the context of medium- and long-term scenarios.
The Federal Planning Bureau presents its latest medium-term outlook (2012-2017) on 14 May 2012. The Economic Outlook 2012-2017 for Belgium is set against the background of budgetary consolidation and weak economic growth in Europe.
The Working Paper looks at the strategy that has been implemented in Belgium since the beginning of the decade to finance the future increase in public spending due to population ageing. This strategy is laid down in the Stability Programmes and in the Ageing Act and is supported by a broad social and political consensus. It implies building up budget surpluses, which has not been done so far. The paper analyses the long-term effects of such a situation, for example as regards the trade-off between the various policies that could be implemented to face the budgetary challenges posed by ageing populations.