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Belgium’s black economy worth €63bn

12:07 13/05/2013

Belgium’s black economy is worth €63 billion this year, equivalent to 16.4% of the country’s total economic activity. Even though the figure is the lowest in 10 years, it doesn’t stop Belgium from being bottom of the class in Western Europe, De Morgen says. According to professor Friedrich Schneider of Linz's Johannes Kepler University, an expert in the underground economy, the black economy in Belgium, which in 2008 accounted for 17.5% of GDP, increased to 17.8% in 2009 before falling to 16.8% last year. This year it would represent 16.4% of GDP, he said. In Germany, the black economy is estimated at 13% of GDP, compared to 9.9% in France, 9.7% in the UK and 9.1% in the Netherlands. Eastern European countries have the worst results, with the figure in Bulgaria an estimated 30% of GDP. Experts recommend limiting cash transactions to tackle the black economy. Belgium’s secretary of state in charge of the fight against fraud, John Crombez, was satisfied by the latest figures, even if it remains difficult to quantify the black economy. “The figures show that we are on the right track. But we can and must do even more.”

Written by The Bulletin