Federal government negotiations enter “home stretch”
Talks on forming a federal coalition government, led by formateurs Kris Peeters of Flemish party CD&V and Charles Michel of the French-speaking party MR, are nearly done. In an interview with VRT news, Michel (pictured) said that the negotiators had entered the “home stretch”.
Meetings were held yesterday between the four parties involved in the coalition government – the Flemish nationalists N-VA, Flemish Christian democrats CD&V, Flemish liberals Open VLD and the French-speaking MR – to discuss the final details of agreements that have been ongoing since the 25 May elections. Political commentators are expecting an announcement very soon – possibly in the course of today or tomorrow.
One of the main policy issues on which the four parties are agreed is to increase the retirement age. “We are going to have to work longer if we are going to afford paying pensions, but we aren’t planning to reduce the pension,” explained Wouter Beke, president of CD&V.
MR member Didier Reynders added that Belgians would in future have to work until at least 65. Unions are already reacting negatively to the announcements. In terms of who the next prime minister will be, media and analysts are betting on Michel.
photo by Julien Warnand/CORBIS
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