Archive photograph

Leading Flemish nationalists and Francophone socialists meet again

Leading figures from the Flemish nationalist party N-VA and the Francophone socialist party PS met on Thursday to discuss the possibility of getting around the table with other parties to hold negotiations on the formation of a new Federal Government. On The news that leading figures from the two parties had met first appeared in Friday’s edition of the daily ‘De Tijd’ and has since been confirmed by VRT News’ sources. 

On Monday the mission given to Johan Vande Lanotte (Flemish socialist) and Didier Reynders (Francophone liberal) by King Filip to pave the way for federal coalition talks comes to an end. According to VRT News sources the leader of the Flemish nationalists Bart De Wever could be given the task of getting the coalition negotiations started.

The leading Francophone socialist Paul Magnette has confirmed in several newspaper that his party and the Flemish nationalist have met several times over the past few weeks and even on a number of occasions over the past few days. Present at the talks were the Flemish nationalists Bart De Wever and Theo Francken, the Francophone socialists Elio Di Rupo and the two “Informateurs” Johan Vande Lanotte and Didier Reynders.

According to our sources, the parties have discussed what should happen on Monday when Mr Reynders and Mr Vande Lanotte’s mission is due to end. We won’t know for certain until Monday, but it is possible that the King will give Mr De Wever the task of trying to bring things forward. On the day that the Flemish coalition agreement was presented Mr De Wever said that he still didn’t know what the Francophone socialists want. It is possible that the King will give him the job of asking the PS for clarity.

A duo of Informateurs with a politician each from the Francophone socialists and the nationalists won’t materialise just yet as it would sent out the signal that the two parties were already ready to form a government. Speaking in the Francophone daily ‘Le Soir’ Paul Magnette (Francophone socialist) said “We are not in agreement with the Flemish nationalists”.

The sole candidate in to succeed Elio Di Rupo as party leader added the differences between his party and the Flemish nationalists are great.  "We have met each other often but have got anywhere and agree about nothing”, Mr Magnette told ‘Le Soir’.

“We have spoken about all topics and I see no single point on which we agree. Mr Magnette also revealed some of his party’s demands. “If N-VA agrees tomorrow to a minimum pension of 1,500 euro, extra funding for the railways, for low incomes etc., if would be difficult for me to explain why I wouldn’t want to talk to them”. "However, at the moment we are a long, long way from this”.