N-VA and PS to eyeball each other today

Belgium’s two biggest parties, the Flemish nationalist N-VA and the Francophone socialists of PS, will meet today for a first time since the 26 May general election.  The meeting that also involves other parties is being organised with a view to forming a new federal government.

The informateurs charged with paving the way for a new federal government are reporting to Filip, King of Belgians, on Monday.  Today’s gathering comes at the very last minute.

It’s unclear exactly which parties will be attending or where the meeting will be held.  Walloon budget minister Jean-Luc Crucke warns that the N-VA won’t be able to strike a deal on transforming Belgium into a confederal state with either his own party, the Francophone liberals, or the PS.

Mr Crucke believes it’s high time N-VA and PS meet and that everybody should soften their positions a little.  A government without the N-VA is possible, but wouldn’t have a majority in Flanders: “This wouldn’t be the easiest scenario for the next few years" he says.

Given the budget deficit has now ballooned to 7 billion euros there is some urgency.

The two informateurs intend to present the document that they have prepared during the past weeks to the party leaders.  The big question is whether the party leaders will be willing to continue talks on the basis of this document drawn up following talks with Belgian political leaders.

Big results are not expected today.  The lack of progress is also having an impact on the formation of regional governments.  N-VA leader Bart De Wever, who is in charge of the Flemish government formation,  introduced a pause awaiting greater clarity on the federal formation, but is now reportedly minded to give formation efforts a second push this week.

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