Direct Debt

Flanders’ direct debt amounted to 21.850 billion euros at the end of 2022. That means an increase of 4.034 billion euros, or 22.64% in relative terms, compared to the end of 2021.

The main reasons for the increase are:

  • direct financing of the Flemish Social Housing Company (VMSW), the Flemish Housing Fund (VWF) and School Invest: 1.808 billion euros
  • budget deficit: 1.140 billion euros
  • Flemish Resilience recovery plan: 654.20 million euros
  • balance of ESA 8 transactions: 373.27 million euros
Evolution of outstanding direct debt at year-end (2020-2023; in millions of euros)
2020 2021 2022 2023¹
EMTN 12,494.50 15,244.50 17,821.00 22,256.50
EU SURE 1,195.38 1,195.38 1,195.38
Schuldschein 37.50 37.50 37.50 37.50
EIB 250.00 250.00
Municipal loans 66.05 58.84 53.22 47.93
Bank loans Ostend fish market 1.55 1.30 1.04 0.77
Bank loans Municipal Holding 54.86 27.43 25.00 25.00
Leaseholds 22.38 20.93 19.44 17.90
Amoras 35.20 34.30 27.20 20.11
BCP/Short-term loans 1,049.94 1,049.87 1,593.86 1,663.99
Current accounts 173.03 145.66 826.08 264.97
Total 13,935.02 17,815.70 21,849.72 25,780.05

¹Preliminary figures

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What is direct debt?

Direct debt refers to debts contracted by the Flemish government to cover a financing gap. It is created whenever the net financing requirement is negative. Direct debt also arises when the Government of Flanders takes over debts from a third party and explicitly recognises these by Decree as its own direct debt.

The direct financing of VWF, VMSW and School Invest also has an impact on the direct debt because the Flemish government incurs additional debts for it. Since June 2015 the Flemish Community centralised the borrowing for these public institutions. In the past they issued their own debt with a guarantee of the Flemish Community.

How is the direct debt financed?

The EMTN programme clearly remains the most important debt instrument, with a relative share of 86.3% at the end of 2023. The graph below also shows the ever growing significance of sustainability bonds, with a relative share of 26.5%. Other important categories are the EU SURE loans and our BCP programme.

Used direct debt instruments (as of 31 December 2023¹; amounts in millions of euros)

¹Preliminary figures


Want to know more about Flanders’ direct debt? Read every detail in the most recent Cash, Debt and Guarantee Management Report.