"Day of Reflection" for Mr Reynders

The former Francophone liberal leader and outgoing Finance Minister Didier Reynders is holding a "Day of Reflection". Mr Reynders, who King Albert asked to try and break Belgium's political deadlock, is taking time out from his meetings with rival political leaders to reflect and concentrate on the content of any future deal.

Last week the prominent Francophone liberal politician met the leaders of nine different political parties to hear their reactions to his first report and learn what they thought about King Albert's decision to give him until 1 March to accomplish his mission.

Mr Reynders has been asked to check whether the political will needed to reach a new deal on state reforms is present or not.

Two working parties set up by Mr Reynders are already at work. On Monday a first working party focusing on the reform of the finance law that settles the funding of the federal state and the regions and language communities met for a first time. A second working party concentrating on labour market reforms started today. Representatives of the Francophone and Flemish liberals, socialists, Christian democrats and greens and the Flemish nationalists have all been invited.