"It's totally illogical, but it is the law"

Efforts to form a new government in the Brussels Region were deadlocked on Thursday after two centre-right Flemish parties let it be known that they would not turn up at a negotiating table if the Francophone democrats of FDF were present. Laurette Onkelinx, the president of the Francophones socialists in Brussels, who is leading the talks has already intervened in a bid to allay Flemish fears.

Belgium may have a first new government - in German-speaking Belgium - after the 25 May general election, but many more administrations need to be formed. Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever is heading the process to create a new Belgian government, but this could be hampered by attempts in Wallonia to install a centre-left administration in southern Belgium. Meanwhile efforts in Brussels to form a new government for the Brussels Region are not going smoothly.

The formation process in Brussels is a particularly complicated one as Flemish and Francophone parties need to agree among themselves and then need to agree with the other language group.

Laurette Onkelinx is the leader of the Francophone socialists in Brussels and despite advances by the Francophone liberal MR is still the largest formation in the capital. Ms Onkelinx has got her own socialists, the Christian democrats and the Francophone democrats of FDF around the table, while all three traditional Flemish parties are involved in the talks on the Flemish side.

The FDF is a controversial partner in Flanders given its hard anti-Flemish stand in the past. Flemish liberals and Christian democrats have let it be known that they have no appetite for a deal with this party.

Ms Onkelinx has been quick to try and allay Flemish fears about the FDF. She told Francophone public radio that the FDF has provided guarantees and that there "would not be any community grumbling in the government accord for the Brussels Region". Ms Onkelinx spoke of "difficulties" rather than "vetoes" and of working together "peacefully".

FDF supremo Bernard Clerfayt too has been keen to lower tension. The Flemish contest the presence of FDF president Olivier Maingain, but Didier Gosuin and Mr Clerfayt himself are the main FDF figures that enter the picture for the Brussels regional government: "In the two municipalities where we form part of the administration in Brussels there is no communal wrangling with the Flemish".

For his part Mr Maingain didn't pull any punches on RTBF radio: quizzed about the guaranteed representation for the Flemish he said: "It's totally illogical, but it is the law".