The Belgian Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompuy (Flemish Christian democrat), has addressed lawmakers signalling the start of the new parliamentary year. Mr Van Rompuy delivered his State of the Union address against the backdrop of one of the greatest economic crises to hit this country.
Mr Van Rompuy spoke of the burden that this crisis was placing on the country.
The Prime Minister identified his administration's priorities for the next two years: making government finances sound, reforming the state, creating a balance in the social security budget and working towards a more sustainable society.
Mr Van Rompuy listed the government's savings and stimulus messages. He also spoke of his ambition to reform the banking system by the end of the year.
The government's aim is a balanced budget by 2013.
The Premier spoke of the difficult task of ensuring government finances are sound and stimulating the economy.
This budget deficit this year should total 5.4 % of national output.