So when can we expect a new Belgian government?

Deputy premier Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) has spoken of the possibility of Belgium enjoying the services of a new federal government by as early as December.  Mr De Croo notes there are many similarities between the government accords agreed in Flanders and Wallonia recently and suggests that Belgium’s two biggest parties, the Flemish nationalist (N-VA) and Francophone socialists (PS), are much further advanced in talks than generally thought.

Leading lights in both parties regularly stress the deep divide that separates them.  Last weekend the PS’s Laurette Onkelinx noted she heard the sound of army boots every time she thought of Flemish nationalist politician Theo Francken.

Mr De Croo points to the similarities in the Flemish and Walloon government accords.  Both want to get more people in work.  Flanders is abolishing mortgage relief just like in Brussels.  The liberal supremo suggests it would be good to have a new federal team in place by 1 December when outgoing premier Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) takes up his new job at the European council: “Replacing one outgoing premier by another outgoing wouldn’t be very logical.”

A new Belgian government by December means parliament could approve the 2020 budget in time.