In 2012, the federal government decided to increase unemployment benefits slightly, but then gradually decrease them. This ‘degressivity’ of the benefits was supposed to make the unemployed look for a job more quickly.
According to a new study by the OECD, the think tank of wealthy Western countries, that measure was a blow: “There is no indication of a greater flow of benefits into work after the reform.”
At the time, the reform sparked heated discussions in the federal Di Rupo government, a coalition of liberals, socialists and Christian Democrats. For the PS in particular, the lower unemployment benefits were a bitter pill.
The fact that the reform would activate too few people had been a concern for some time. That is why the Michel government wanted to tighten the degressivity even more. That measure remained a dead letter due to the untimely fall of the government.
Only: lowering benefits even more would have had little additional effect, the OECD now concludes.