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
, applies regionally
|Time period||Open ended, started on 01 June 2020|
|Type||Other initiatives or policies|
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)|
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.
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.
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.
|Does not apply to workers||Applies to all businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
Local / regional government
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The involvement of the social partners is unknown, they are not listed as partners by the Welfare Fund itself so it is probably limited.
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, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/BE-2020-23_2106.html
30 January 2023
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12 September 2022
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.Article
12 September 2022
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.Article
Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.