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Tomorrow is a “make or break day” for federal coalition

11:08 03/09/2014

Tomorrow (Thursday) is a make or break moment in the formation of a new federal coalition government, according to Kris Peeters of the Flemish Christian Democrats party CD&V. “The centre-right coalition has to be clearly seen to be viable on Thursday,” he said.

The government negotiators are currently looking for ways to secure €20 billion in cuts to ensure a balanced budget and reduce salary costs for businesses.

Outgoing finance minister Didier Reynders (pictured) of MR, the French-speaking party leading negotiations with CD&V, said that the new government would need to cut the budget by €5 billion next year. He said that he would prefer this to be achieved by reducing costs but acknowledged that new sources of revenue would also have to be found.       

The two negotiating parties have been forced to fast-track the process of forming a government following an ultimatum made last weekend by the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who called on Belgium to come up with a candidate for European Commissioner by Thursday.

Negotiations over the allocation of the EU post have narrowed down the field to two candidates – Marianne Thyssen of CD&V and Reynders. Thyssen has a slight edge because Juncker has asked for a woman candidate, but analysts think it unlikely that the prestigious European post would go to a CD&V politician when Peeters is set to take over as the country’s prime minister.

The commission candidate is expected to be announced by tonight.


Written by Derek Blyth