Flemish nationalists say "no" to Di Rupo's proposals

Today was (another) crucial day for formateur Elio Di Rupo. All the political parties negotiating a state reform and the formation of a new coalition government, voiced their will to pursue the talks on the basis of the text put forward by the Francophone socialist leader. All, except one: the N-VA of Bart De Wever. A reconstruction of a turbulent day.

Some had already given their go-ahead before today, like the Flemish liberals of Open VLD and the Francophone liberals of MR.

Today, the 7 other parties were releasing their opinion. This morning, all the remaining Francophone parties (the Christian democrats of the CDH, the greens of Ecolo and the socialists of the PS) expressed their will to go on - for the PS, this was logical, as this is the party of formateur Elio Di Rupo.

CD&V: "Yes, but only if the Flemish nationalists are in"

Around 1 p.m., the Flemish socialists of SP.A followed. The Christian democrats of CD&V also gave a positive response, but party leader Wouter Beke announced that "there would be no sense in continuing the talks if the N-VA would reject the proposals." This upped the pressure on the Flemish nationalists.

However, Bart De Wever of the Flemish nationalists did not yield to that pressure and announced at a press conference that they are not giving the green light: "The text is not a good basis to pursue the talks, and continuing would not lead to any success." Mr De Wever added: "It's more honest to say "no.""

This means the end of the effort put forward by Elio Di Rupo (photo), with the Belgian political world being plunged into a new, profound crisis. It is not clear what should happen next, but the option of new elections has come one step closer. However, the various parties at the table have already said that they see no good in new elections, as this would only confirm the present positions. Earlier, an opinion poll revealed that the N-VA would even confirm their leading position.

The N-VA slates Di Rupo's compromise text

Bart De Wever voiced the N-VA's criticism on the main different points in the compromise text prepared by Elio Di Rupo.

  1. Reducing the budget deficit. The N-VA finds "a massive tax increase" in the text , which would mean that "in Europe, Belgium would be the country cutting the least in public spending, at the same time introducing more taxes."
  2. Social economic reforms. Those reforms necessary for the N-VA, are not in the text. Bart De Wever explained that "the recommendations made by Europe, the IMF and OECD have almost completely been neglected."
  3. New financing laws and funding mechanisms for the regions. The reforms as proposed by Mr Di Rupo "will hardly have any effect."
  4. A major state reform. The N-VA finds that there is not much new in the proposals. "It's less than what was proposed by (the former Royal Negotiator) Johan Vande Lanotte. This is a "bric-à-brac reform,"" Bart De Wever concluded, meaning that it's been knocked together with a number of smaller things in a disorderly way, without a solid basis.
  5. Brussels. The N-VA calls the proposals "desastrous" and cannot live with the fact that the Belgian capital would receive more cash, but at the same time have less to account for.