Deputy Premier to shut up about N-VA

Federal Economy Minister Johan Vande Lanotte has told the Francophone daily Le Soir that he won't be talking about the Flemish nationalist party N-VA until election year 2014.

The N-VA is Belgium's biggest party and heads opposition against Prime Minister Di Rupo's six party coalition.

Mr Vande Lanotte, a Flemish socialist, says that he has now promised himself that he will only talk about himself, his party and the government: "Not about anybody else. I won't attack anybody else either. You win elections if you talk about yourself, not about somebody else".

Mr Vande Lanotte wants to focus on his work, although he appreciates that it's not always achievements that are in the spotlight in the run up to elections.

The Deputy Premier refused to say anything about confederalism, a topic that the Flemish nationalists want to turn into the main issue of the elections. Under a confederation Flemings and Francophone would decide for themselves which matters they still want to do together and decide other issues for themselves.

Mr Vande Lanotte told Le Soir: "After the reform of the state, we must reform society. That's our project."

"It should be based on the principles of progress, solidarity and equality. As a result of the crisis inequality has grown and is hitting people hard, especially single parent families."

We must reduce poverty and make sure we can pay retirement pensions and improve education."