Federal impasse casts long shadow over Flemish government formation efforts

Six weeks after the May general election Belgium and Flanders are still without new governments, but Belgium’s political parties do seem to be edging towards progress of sorts.

During the weekend Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever, who is forming the new Flemish government, spoke with party leaders. The Flemish Christian democrats, liberals and socialists all received the document setting out Mr De Wever’s plans for a new Flemish government.  The greens and the far right didn’t.   

Little has leaked about the content of the policy document.  It was expected that it would become clearer which parties will be directly involved in the formation process.  But in the course of the morning Mr De Wever announced that he was pausing the Flemish government formation efforts.  Despite the state reforms it seems the federal government formation is casting a long shadow over the Flemish government formation process. Nobody knows who will and won't be in the federal government and nobody is ready to compromise yet.  Mr De Wever believes it's pointless to waste time and will await progress in the federal talks before continuing his efforts.

Meanwhile Belgium too is still without a new federal government.  The king gave the politicians charged with paving the way, Didier Reynders and Johan Vande Lanotte, the task of staying in contact with the regions too.  Their challenge will be to bring the Flemish nationalists and the Francophone socialists to the federal negotiating table.

Mr Reynders and Mr Vande Lanotte are reporting to King Filip on the progress of their mission later today. King Filip is expected to ask the two to redouble their efforts.