"Formula needs to be changed"

Also in French-speaking Belgium the resignation of Royal Mediator Johan Vande Lanotte has sparked a raft of reactions.

Francophone socialist Laurette Onkelinx was one of the first politicians to sound the death knell of the seven-party talks when Mr Vande Lanotte resigned: "We need a new formula. We can't ignore what happened today. Party leaders will have to make proposals to the king. We need a government with full powers to deal with the social economic challenges.

Francophone liberal Charles Michel wants fresh negotiations with the liberals but without the Flemish nationalists: "The nationalists should make it clear whether they are prepared to work within the Belgian framework."

Francophone Christian democrat Melchior Wathelet insists that the Francophones made many concessions, but that these were not enough to reach a deal.

Mr Wathelet believes that it's above all the way that the talks are organised that should change. Other parties could also be involved.

Marcel Cheron, the Francophone ecologist senator who represented his party in the talks, suggests it would be better to hold talks without the Flemish nationalists of N-VA, if this is possible. He added that all French-speaking parties are defending the same positions: "The N-VA is openly separatist. There's also the problem of the Flemish Christian democrats that don't dare to budge without the N-VA"