To evaluate the current state of the Belgian economy, the FPB regularly updates a series of indicators. The indicators concern the macro-economic stance of the economies of Belgium, its three neighbouring countries and the euro area, as well as the transport industry.
The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) is based on Article 121.6 of the Treaty that deals with the coordination of EU Member States economic policies (23/11/2011). This coordination is deemed necessary in order to avoid unsustainable trends that have been observed over the last decade.
The procedure has a large scope, encompassing both external and internal imbalances and can be divided up into two parts: a preventive arm and a corrective arm.
As part of the preventive arm, the European Commission's main tool used to identify the risks of emerging macroeconomic imbalances in Member States is a scoreboard of fourteen indicators, five related to external imbalances and competitiveness, six to internal imbalances and three to labour market conditions. For each indicator, a threshold has been identified, usually based on statistical analysis and common findings in the economic literature. Thresholds are different between Euro Area Member States and non-Euro Area Member States for the real effective exchange rate and the nominal unit labour cost.
Countries that are considered by the European Commission as having a risk of imbalances, receive an in-depth review (IDR). If imbalances exist in a country, the country is expected to correct it in the corrective part of the procedure. If a country fails to do so, it risks receiving a fine.
The official MIP site of the Commission can be reached at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/economic_governance/macroeconomic_imbalance_procedure/index_en.htm