The cities of Antwerp and Ghent receive a substantial amount of municipal subsidies from Flanders, accounting for one third of the 5.1 billion euros distributed to local authorities in 2022. This information was revealed in an analysis conducted by the newspaper De Tijd, using data from Flemish MP Brecht Warnez (CD&V). Despite having only 1.5 million inhabitants, these two major cities receive the same amount of subsidies as 244 smaller municipalities with four times more inhabitants, combined.
The subsidies that flow to these two cities are derived from various sources including the Municipal Fund, additional grants, and project subsidies. On a per inhabitant basis, Antwerp and Ghent each receive slightly more than 2,000 euros in subsidies from Flanders, nearly three times the Flemish average of 763 euros. Other provincial capitals such as Hasselt, Leuven, and Bruges receive between 900 to 1,000 euros per inhabitant. However, the smaller municipalities receive between 230 and 640 euros per inhabitant. Some of these municipalities may not receive as much funding due to their affluent residents and stronger tax base.
Flemish MP Brecht Warnez argues that this distribution of subsidies is imbalanced and that smaller cities and rural municipalities are seriously underfunded. He believes that more money should be allocated to rural areas and that they deserve more respect. However, Antwerp and Ghent defend the allocation of subsidies by stating that they face greater challenges such as poverty, homelessness care