"The N-VA's refusal should not serve as an excuse"

According to the European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, the refusal of the Flemish nationalists to continue the coalition talks should not serve as an excuse for other parties to wait and see which way the cat jumps. Mr De Gucht's words were a clear reference to the attitude of the Flemish Christian democrats of CD&V.

Karel De Gucht (Flemish liberal) is watching the Belgian political stalemate from a distance as European Commissioner. He thinks that the Flemish nationalists of N-VA do not have the intention of taking part in a federal coalition government. "Bart De Wever (small photo) takes his votes from 3 different parties: the liberals, the Christian democrats and far-right Vlaams Belang. If he would enter the government, he would lose a lot of potential new voters. It's his choice to keep these voters and not to rule the country."

"It's their right to decide not to be part of a new government. However, this should not paralyse the country. Belgium needs a federal government", Mr De Gucht continues. "The N-VA's refusal is not an excuse to do nothing. Those who don't take any initiative and refuse to come to the table to negotiate, are guilty of political desertion."

"I realise that the talks won't be easy, but the different players haven't been together at the table since September", Mr De Gucht points out.

His words target the CD&V, which refuses to continue the talks because the N-VA is not in. This is despite the fact that the 7 other parties are willing to go on. Mr De Gucht slates CD&V's attitude. "They are not making any choices. Still, I think they should take up their responsibility and show more courage. Voters will appreciate this."

In the meantime, formateur Elio Di Rupo is to see the king after he presented his resignation last week, asking the monarch to be relieved from his duties. It is not clear whether the meeting will take place today or tomorrow.