European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure BE-2020-23/2106 – measures in Belgium

Welfare fund


Country Belgium , applies regionally

Time period Open ended, started on 01 June 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Measure added 03 January 2022 (updated 12 January 2022)

Background information

The Welfare Fund is an initiative of the Flemish Government to provide an additional solution to counter the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Flemish companies. The Welfare Fund wants to support intrinsically healthy companies that have a link with Flanders and/or let them grow faster in order to strengthen their solvency.

The Welfare Fund organises and combines the strength of different financial partners to strengthen the solvency of companies with a link to Flanders. The Welfare Fund can invest, alone or together with other financial partners, in large companies, SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups in all sectors.

Content of measure

The Welfare Fund provides capital, quasi-capital and subordinated loans of minimum €1.25 million to maximum €50 million to companies. The duration of this financing is tailored to the application it finances, but limited in time until the maximum duration of the fund. The fund has an investment period of 4 years and a runtime of 10 years. For the duration of the investment, a representative of the Welfare Fund will have a say in the management of the company. If appropriate, this participation can be enforced through a seat on the company's board of directors, and if applicable, voting rights as a shareholder.

Both companies that require additional finances to strengthen their solvency because of the COVID-19 crisis as well as companies that see in this crisis the opportunity to accelerate their growth can apply to the Welfare Fund for financing. In addition, innovation-driven companies with a link to Flanders or healthy Flemish subsidiaries of international groups that have run into problems are part of the target group of the fund.

The Welfare Fund only provides financing to companies that were and still are financially viable before the crisis. Apart from some primary sector subsectors, companies from all sectors are open to apply to the fund.

Use of measure

On 30 August 2021 Flemish Minister of Economy Hilde Crevits, AG Insurance, Baloise Belgium, Belfius Insurance, BNP Paribas Fortis, Ethias, KBC and Participatie Maatschappij Vlaanderen announced the first closing of the Welfare Fund. The consortium of financial partners commits itself in this phase to invest €167 million in the Flemish economy.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
Local / regional government
Regional funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


The involvement of the social partners is unknown, they are not listed as partners by the Welfare Fund itself so it is probably limited.

Views and reactions

Employers' association Unizo is positive about the welfare fund, they believe it is an important part of a buffer to maintain a connection with Flanders for many companies and prevent easy acquisition of Flemish companies by foreign investors.



Eurofound (2022), Welfare fund, measure BE-2020-23/2106 (measures in Belgium), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

30 January 2023


Measures to lessen the impact of the inflation and energy crisis on citizens

Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.


12 September 2022


First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


12 September 2022


Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.


5 July 2022


Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses of EU Member States, including those of the social partners and other civil society actors, enabling refugees to exercise their rights under the Temporary Protection Directive.


Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.