7 parties in sprint to form new Belgian government

Talks on the formation of a new Belgian government continue today with thoughts concentrating on the budget. “The budget is a difficult operation.  Everybody will have to cut down on their wishes” said Alexander De Croo, one of the joint leaders of the formation talks and a possible new prime minister.

Flemish liberal De Croo joined co-formateur Paul Magnette, the Francophone socialist leader, another key contender, at the palace of Brussels on Monday evening for an audience with Filip, King of Belgians.  The king granted the formateurs more time to strike a deal.

Seven parties, the Flemish and Francophone liberals, socialists and green plus the Flemish Christian democrats are involved. Bilateral talks were held last night.  Overnight work centred on a compromise budget proposal that is being put to the parties this morning.

The budget is traditionally the last obstacle that needs to be taken in the formation of a new Belgian government.  Veteran VRT political correspondent Johny Vansevenant said “The parties have come too far not to succeed now.”

The government accord needs to be approved by seven party conferences organised on Wednesday evening.  Then the new prime minister, whose name is still somewhat of a mystery, will be able to deliver the new government’s declaration to parliament on Thursday, when the European Parliament building has been booked for this long-awaited event.

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