Nicolas Maeterlinck

So where’s the new Belgian government?

Over three months after the general election Belgium still has no new government, though several ministers already have new jobs elsewhere. The goal is to get the Flemish nationalists and the Francophone socialists talking so that they can form the kernel of a new administration, but progress is slow.  To kick-start the negotiations Johan Vande Lanotte and Didier Reynders, the two veteran politicians appointed by King Filip to pave the way as informateurs, have invited a whole host of parties to a gathering on Wednesday evening.

The Flemish nationalist N-VA is invited as well as the Francophone and Flemish liberals and socialists plus the Flemish Christian democrats and greens. The Francophone greens haven’t been invited because they did not turn up last time. Representatives of the same parties met for a first time on 28 July without tangible results.

The informateurs are supposed to conclude their activities on 9 September.  So time is pressing. The informateurs have prepared documents with budgetary and social economic points they will put to the various parties. It remains unclear whether Wednesday’s round table will yield any result. The federal formation is particularly difficult because the country’s two biggest parties, the Flemish N-VA and the Francophone socialists, are each other’s antithesis.

On a more positive note everybody is remaining discrete and that in Belgium is a good sign.  There have been no leaks and no provocative statements either as nobody wants to jeopardise any progress.