Talks halted as Mr De Wever became unwell

Negotiations on a package of state reforms failed to result in an agreement on Monday. In all seven parties are taking part in the talks. Some sources say that the negotiations were halted because the leader of the Flemish nationalist party, Bart De Wever, had become unwell. Others suggested that the talks were brought to an end because they were not going anywhere.

The meeting was supposed to come up with an accord on the powers that will be transferred to the regions and communities.

Francophone negotiators made it clear that they had reached their limit and were not prepared to transfer any further powers.

The Flemish nationalists and Christian democrats both insisted that greater powers still had to be transferred.

It's understood that the nationalists then changed strategy and insisted on a discussion on funding. Flemish parties then wanted to initiate talks on the 'financing law' which stipulates how the federal and devolved governments are funded.

Francophones seemed surprised and refused to discuss this "in haste". As Mr De Wever did not feel well either, the talks were halted.

The Flemish nationalists are insistent that Belgium's regions gain the means and powers to implement their own policies.

The financing law governs the flow of funds between the federal and devolved authorities. The law has been amended several times and according to Mr De Wever is no longer transparent.

Take the case of retirement pensions. The Flemish Government is responsible for the pensions of its own civil servants, but these are paid by the federal authorities.

The nationalists want the law modified to take account of Belgium's new state structures. This would mean that the devolved governments also become responsible for the financial implications of their decisions.

Analysts also warn that in future the federal state will not be able to foot the bill for all the decisions of the devolved governments.

Francophone socialist leader Elio Di Rupo, who is leading the negotiations intended to agree state reforms and result in the creation of a new Federal Government, will today hold bilateral talks with each of the parties separately in an attempt to unblock the situation.

Brussels remains stumbling block

The future of Brussels is thought to form one of the main obstacles to an agreement. On Monday it was perhaps significant that the Brussels Prime Minister, the Francophone socialist Charles Picqué, also took part in the negotiations. If Mr Di Rupo manages to reach agreement on state reforms during the next few days, he will be able to start separate negotiations on the formation of a new Federal Government.

Belgium went to the polls on 13 June.

Mr De Wever is himself again

Mr De Wever’s spokesman has insisted that the Flemish nationalist leader is fine and there was nothing seriously wrong yesterday. Mr De Wever became unwell during Monday’s talks.

His spokesman says that he was extremely tired. He went to bed early and woke up this morning right as rain.