In Belgium, the House has announced the budget of the royal family for 2019. In total, a budget of 36,614,000 euros is foreseen for the whole year – that is 206,000 euros more than in 2018. Surprisingly, there is nothing to be noticed in the amounts of the diminution of the costs of Laurent. On the contrary, the prince gets even more than this year.
Of that 36.6 million, 22,732,000 euros is set aside to pay for the official activities of the royal family; the rest serves to pay the dotation’s. All members of the Belgian royal family are moving forward – the amounts have already been indexed in the budget.
King Filip will receive 12,267,000 euros next year. King Albert will receive 961,000 euros – 778,000 euros for operating and staff costs and 183,000 euros for remuneration. A controversial amount, since the former head of state rarely finishes official activities and has in recent years withdrawn much abroad. At Albert, the counter was only on 8 official visits at the end of September.
But especially the addition of Prince Laurent is striking. For him a budget of 320,000 euros was foreseen, slightly less than that of Princess Astrid, which receives 334,000 euros. So, the prince gets more than in 2018, when he was awarded 314,000 euros. And that while the government decided to reduce its allocation by 15 percent (around 46,000 euros). This happened after the prince had attended a ceremony at the Chinese embassy in army uniform without permission.
There is therefore no sign of that penalty in the budget. In a reaction to DH, the Chamber calls that ‘normal’. “This sanction will be implemented in an administrative manner and therefore does not have to be included in the budget”, says Chief of Staff Geert Schelstraete. “Anything that is not paid on 31 December will automatically return to the Treasury. No postponement is possible.”
Economist Thierry Debels, however, questions this way of working. “If you are sure that you will give a smaller amount, it should normally be shown in the budget. I wonder if there is no more behind it.” He suspects that the government is already covering itself in case of Prince Laurent – who appealed against his sanction – wins his lawsuit. “Maybe they think he has a lot of chance to get right from the Council of State, and then they have at least enough budgeted.”