Direct Debt

Flanders’ direct debt amounted to 17.816 billion euros at the end of 2021. That means an increase of 3.881 billion euros, or 27.85% in relative terms, compared to the end of 2020.

The main reasons for the increase are:

  • the budget deficit due to the prolonged COVID-19 crisis (2.365 billion euros)
  • the direct financing of the Flemish Social Housing Company (VMSW), the Flemish Housing Fund (VWF) and School Invest (978.22 million euros)
  • a number of ESA-8 expenditures (453.8 million euros), with the most important one being the contribution to the capital increase for Lantis (262.5 million euros)
Evolution of outstanding direct debt (2019-2021; in millions of euros)
2019 2020 2021
EMTN 6,331.50 12,494.50 15,244.50
EU SURE 1,195.38
Schuldschein 37.50 37.50 37.50
Municipal loans 77.38 66.05 58.84
Bank loans Ostend fish market 1.79 1.55 1.30
Bank loans Municipal Holding 82.30 54.86 27.43
Leaseholds 23.80 22.38 20.93
Amoras 40.49 35.20 34.30
BCP/Short-term loans 0.00 1,049.94 1,049.87
Current accounts 207.50 173.03 145.66
TOTAL 6,802.26 13,935.02 17,815.70
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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 85.6% at the end of 2021. The graph below also shows the ever growing significance of sustainability bonds, with a relative share of 22.8%. Other important categories are the EU SURE loans and our BCP programme.

Used direct debt instruments (as of 31 December 2021)

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