Belgian Council of State critical of Flemish EV premium

The Council of State is sharply critical of the Flemish government’s draft decision on a premium for the purchase of an electric car. The Council has problems with the ‘first come, first served’ principle and fears due to the limited budget also a possible reduction of the premium in case of too much demand.

The Flemish government has provided a budget of 20 million euros for the measure. The aim is still for mid-February to get the regulations ready in time.

The fact that the Flemish government, in its plans to grant a premium of 5,000 euros to those who buy an EV of less than 40,000 or 3,000 euros for a second-hand one, uses the ‘first come, first served’ principle is, in the view of the Council of State, at odds with the principle of equality.

Maximum 4,000 cars

Moreover, it also questions the budget of 20 million euros, which accounts for a maximum of 4,000 new cars or roughly 6,000 second-hand cars. According to the Council, however, it is highly doubtful that the number of applications will not be higher.

The Flemish government had already indicated that in the event of a mid-term evaluation, the premium amount could be reduced, which would, therefore, mean that applications from certain points in time would lead to lower premiums.

But the Council of State also sees problems here because the Flemish government risks legal challenges if more applications are submitted than the budget allows and the principles of equality and legitimate expectations are violated.

Conclusive regulation will follow

At the office of competent minister Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), it can be heard that the advice of the Council of State was awaited “to ensure a conclusive regulation”. Minister of Mobility Peeters will put a proposal on the agenda at the Council of Ministers on Friday, in which several issues in the advice will be met.

The Department of Mobility & Public Works still intends to open the counter where the premiums can be applied for in February.

From the moment the premium was announced, it was strongly criticized. Some saw it as a gift to the middle class because it is a subsidy for people who don’t need it. Others saw it as a bad policy choice because Flanders finances traffic jams in this way and refuses to make structural changes to public transport.

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