"I don't want the end of Belgium"

Following his trip to Laken Castle Francophone socialist leader Elio Di Rupo called a news conference at which he announced he no longer wanted the job of 'Preformateur' and that he would act in his role as PS leader and not as somebody who trying to unite the country and was above party differences.

Mr Di Rupo ran through what had been agreed so far and said that all conditions had been met for the weight of government decision-making to be transferred to the regions and the communities. Decision-making powers worth 15 billion euros were being handed to the regions. There was extra cash for the Brussels Region, a solution for the Brussels Halle Vilvoorde Constituency and also agreement to update the finance law that settles the funding of the devolved entities.

In his ultimate proposal Mr Di Rupo attempted to bridge the differences. Some extra cash for Brussels would be set aside for specific fields like mobility, while other funding for the capital would only follow from a new finance law.

The Francophone socialist leader acknowledged that in the past Francophone parties had not listened sufficiently to Flemish concerns, but in a clear attack on Bart De Wever's N-VA added that some Flemish parties didn’t want to hear what the Francophones want.

A collective failure

"I took my responsibility, but I don't want an agreement at any price. We have missed a chance to reform Belgium. When the king relieves me of my task, I will resume my role as PS leader and the PS will remain constructive."

"I’ve always defended solidarity among Belgians. I don't want the end of Belgium and will continue the dialogue. I want us all, Flemings, Walloons, Brusselers and German-speakers, to live together in peace and prosperity."

Commentators note that Mr Di Rupo does not blame any single party. It was a collective failure.