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Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

Belgian royals latest to join austerity drive

King Albert II

By RAF CASERT

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium’s King Albert II on Monday said he’ll use part of his salary to help pay for the upkeep on his properties, making him the latest European royal whose pocketbook is being squeezed by the economic woes afflicting the continent.

The financial crisis has hit several European countries that still have royal families, including Spain, Britain and Belgium. With their palaces, estates and often ostentatious tastes, monarchs and their kin have faced criticism as governments pass austerity measures, and some have seen their public funding cut.

“You can see an immediate link in countries with serious budgetary problems,” University of Ghent expert Prof. Herman Matthijs said.

In a rare public statement on his finances, King Albert said he wants to freeze the euro10.8 million ($13.8 million) he gets from the state. He intends to use an automatic 2012 salary inflation adjustment of some 3 percent to help pay for some property maintenance costs normally borne by the government.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

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Don Melvin

Slobodan Lekic

Raf Casert

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