Negotiators for a new Flemish Government back around the table

Representatives of the three parties involved in the negotiations for the formation of a new Flemish Government met earlier on Saturday at the offices of the Flemish Prime Minister Liesbeth Homans (nationalist). Their work to reach a coalition agreement has not been made any easier by the news that the previous projections for a budget deficit of 500 million euro have been revised up to 600 million euro. The negotiators intend to reconvene the talks on Sunday. 

On their arrival the nationalists’ Philippe Muyters and Ben Weyts and the Flemish liberals’ leader Gwendolyn Rutten told journalists that the aim of achieving a balanced budget should not be dropped.

Meanwhile, the Christian democrats’ negotiator Hilde Crevits stressed that the new Flemish Government should be a government that makes investments in a range of policy areas. The negotiators recognised that the worsened budgetary projections had not made their task easier. Nevertheless, Mr Weyts told VRT News that "We just have to see how we get around this. We have no other choice”.

The hope remains that the negotiation will have reached a successful conclusion by 23 September, the day on which the Flemish Government sets out its plans for the coming parliamentary year in the September Declaration.

The topics discussed during Saturday’s talks were employment, the economy and innovation. The negotiators intend to meet again on Sunday with more talks planned for the start of next week.