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Belgian report Belgian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-11-17 07:15:21
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Belgium to double nuclear tax

Negotiators forming Belgium's coalition government have agreed to double the tax on nuclear generation to Eur550 million ($745 million) and require dominant power firm Electrabel to make available more nuclear power to its competitors, a spokeswoman for the energy ministry said Tuesday, confirming earlier press reports. The cross-party pact also calls on the energy regulator CREG to put in place a mechanism to block unjustifiable price rises above neighbouring countries in the interests of consumers, the RTL news site said. Political groups are aiming to complete negotiations to form a new coalition government in the coming weeks.

The current annual level of tax is Eur250 million, 87% of which falls on Electrabel, a GDF Suez company. The rest is paid by SPE-Luminus, the EDF-controlled company that has a small share of nuclear production rights. The requirement that Electrabel shares more of its capacity "is in the agreement, but I cannot give you the amount or when it will be applied," the government spokeswoman said.

In late October, the coalition negotiators agreed to begin a phase-out of nuclear power beginning in 2015. There are seven reactors in Belgium with a total capacity of 5.9 GW. The phase-out agreement effectively wipes out a deal made in October 2009 between the government and GDF Suez.


Belgium could become the next Greece

Belgian EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht has warned that his country could be in line to suffer a Greek-and-Italian-type loss of market confidence if it does not quickly form a new government, EU Observer learned.

"Italy and Greece have been saved for now because they will have a new government. It may very well be that the financial markets look around and say: 'Who's next?' And then I think that Belgium is one of the possible victims," he said on national TV on Sunday (13 November).

Belgium has struggled to form a coalition government for the past 517 days – a world record – amid still-growing differences between its francophone south and Dutch-speaking north. At the same time, it has the EU's third largest debt-to-GDP ratio after Greece and Italy: almost 100 percent. Belgium was on Thursday reprimanded by EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn over the fact it still has not provided the European Commission with a national budget for 2012.


Belgium's CFE order book up 19.3 percent in 1st 9 months

Belgian building company CFE said on Monday that its order book grew by more than 19 percent in the nine months from the start of 2011, and that its profitability should fall less over the full year than it had done in the first half.

Revenues for the first nine months of 2011 came in at 1.283 billion Euros ($1.76 billion), slightly below the 1.289 billion achieved in the same period last year. The group's order book grew by 19.3 percent to 2.313 billion Euros on Oct. 1 from 1.94 billion at the start of 2011.

CFE, which is 47 percent, owned by France's Vinci, said that, depending on the outcome of several construction projects, the decline in net profit should be less pronounced over the full year than in the first half, when net profit declined 18.4 percent. ($1 = 0.728 Euros) 

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