Just six days after his appointment Paul Magnette has given a progress report. He told Monday afternoon’s press conference that he has “worked very intensively” since Thursday and has had “in depth talks” with the various parties. Mr Magnette said that there is consensus among all the parties the percentage of 18 to 65 year olds that are in employment needs to be raised and more jobs need to be created. However, the parties differed on how they believe that this should be achieved.
All the parties were also said to be in favour of raising the rate of the minimum pension. Over the past few days Mr Magnette has met with representatives of 10 political parties: the Flemish and Francophone Liberals, the Flemish and Francophone socialists, the Flemish and Francophone Christian democrats, the Flemish and Francophone greens, the Flemish nationalists and the Francophone Federalist Party Défi.
Mr Magnette stressed the advantages linked to more people being in employment such as “sustainable financing of the state and the social security system, but above all making it possible for everyone to generate their own income and enrich their social life”.
The Informateur also cited for other themes, but didn’t elaborate further on them as his talks with the parties on these themes hadn’t yet gone as far as the talks on improving the employment rate. The four other themes are
· Climate transition
· Social cohesion and the fight against poverty
· Justice and security
Only 9 of the 10 parties considered for a possible coalition
Mr Magnette will continue talking to all ten parties. However, the Francophone Christian democrat party will not be considered as a possible federal coalition partner.
He stressed that he would continue to work on the basis of content and that “I don’t have an option for a coalition”.
The next point to be discussed will be how Belgium is doing compared to other EU countries. Mr Magnette also intends to meet with the European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici to discuss Belgium’s poor budgetary state.
Next Monday Paul Magnette will meet with the King to give him a progress report. If sufficient progress has been made by then it is likely that his mission will be extended.