Deal on a centre-right coalition by Thursday?

Kris Peeters, the Flemish Christian democrat expected to become the next Belgian premier if talks between four centre-right parties succeed, says that it should become clear by Thursday whether the coalition of Flemish nationalists, Christian democrats and liberals and Francophone liberals is viable.

Negotiators are now going in search of 20 billion euros to ensure a balanced budget. Mr Peeters insists a good balance needs to be reached between cuts and extra taxes.

Francophone liberal Didier Reynders believes next year's effort will total 5 billion euros. He also noted that the European Commission expects to see Belgium's figures for the next three years.

Together with co-formateur Charles Michel Mr Peeters has to report to the king on Thursday. That's also the day when Belgium will nominate its European commissioner. At the moment the best money is on Flemish Christian democrat Marianne Thyssen or Francophone liberal Didier Reynders.

Kris Peeters: "The EU has given us a deadline to decide on a new European commissioner. It conflicts with the normal course of the talks. That's why we are moving ahead more quickly and will hopefully know by Thursday whether the coalition is viable."