Everyone works longer, except politicians

The six Belgian parliaments have not been able to strike a deal on raising the retirement age for MP's. For the moment, it remains at 65 instead of 67, the retirement age imposed on 'normal' citizens by lawmakers.

The Federal Chamber Speaker Siegfried Bracke (N-VA) had worked out a proposal on the account of the whole federal parliament, but a special meeting with the 7 heads of parliament in Belgium ended without an accord. This is despite every politician declaring in the press that he or she supports the idea of working until a later age, just like all other working Belgians.

The Flemish nationalists of N-VA blame the Francophone MP's for the failure. Peter De Roover told Het Nieuwsblad that "Francophone colleagues want to drag other things into the debate." They demand a ban on combining parliamentary work with other functions.

On the other side of the language divide, André Antoine (Christian democrat) is talking about "a coup staged by the N-VA".The north-south bickering may have ended in a stalemate for now, but the talks will be continued after the summer.

Six parliaments?

The six Belgian parliaments are those belonging to the 3 regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels) and those belonging to the 3 language communities (Dutch, French and German). The latter are mainly concerned with things like culture, sports and language.