First wave economic damage greater in Belgium than in the …

In the second quarter, the Netherlands suffered much less from corona measures than Belgium. In the northern neighbors, companies in construction, trade, transport, catering and industry had a much less difficult time than in Belgium. This is reported by the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

In April, May and June, the Dutch economy contracted by 9.4 percent compared to a year earlier. The Belgian economy declined with 14.5 percent.

The differences with Belgium were greatest in construction. In Belgium, the added value of this sector shrank by 15.7 percent, against 3.5 percent in the Netherlands. “The biggest difference in corona-related measures in this industry is that keeping a distance was made mandatory in Belgium, while in the Netherlands it quickly became an urgent advice,” the researchers explain. Many Belgian construction companies therefore closed their doors. In the Netherlands, employers’ organizations and trade unions made agreements to continue working with corona measures.

Much stricter measures also applied in the retail trade in Belgium than in the Netherlands. In Belgium, stores were only allowed to remain open until the beginning of May if they were considered essential. In the Netherlands, shops were allowed to remain open if sufficient measures were taken to maintain a distance. The differences were particularly large in April. In Belgium, the added value fell by 14 percent compared to a year earlier, while in the Netherlands it was only slightly less.

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