Connor Rousseau and Paul Magnette.

Socialist family has restarted formation talks for a new government

Connor Rousseau, the leader of the Flemish socialists, and his Francophone counterpart Paul Magnette have started new talks with other party leaders. This was reported by Het Nieuwsblad, and has been confirmed to the VRT. These informal, unofficial talks are still in a very first phase, but it is hoped that a new federal government can formed by the end of September. 

The Wilmès government is only a temporary solution: the minority government led by Sophie Wilmès (Francophone liberal) received the backing of a majority of the parties to steer Belgium through the corona crisis. This backing won't last forever: it will only continue until June. A new federal government will have to be formed at a later stage.

Connor Rousseau and  Paul Magnette have now taken the initiative: together their socialist parties make up the biggest political family, just ahead of the Flemish and Francophone liberals and the Flemish nationalists (N-VA) of Bart De Wever. 

Rousseau and Magnette have met four party leaders already and will meet another four next week. The talks are in a preliminary stage to see where everybody stands and what is possible. They could serve as a basis for a future official 'formateur', the person who will take up the actual task of forming a new coalition government. 

Earlier today, Paul Magnette proposed a big economic recovery plan worth 10 percent of the Belgian GDP. "We are behind our neighbouring countries and we should take action to limit the damage", Magnette underlined.