Federal government negotiations have entered the “home stretch”

Summary

Formateurs are close to an agreement on the country’s new coalition government, and analysts are betting that Charles Michel will be the next prime minister

Formation could happen today

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

Formateurs are close to an agreement on the country’s new coalition government, and analysts are betting that Charles Michel will be the next prime minister.

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Belgian government

Belgium is a federal state made up of three regions and three communities, based on language (Dutch, French and German). The federal level is responsible for issues such as justice, defence, finances and foreign affairs – matters that affect the entire country. Belgium is also a constitutional monarchy.
Regions - The regions are comparable to American states or German Länder. They are geographical entities, responsible for matters related to their territory, such as public works, environment and economy. Belgium’s three regions are the Flemish Region, the Brussels-Capital Region and the Walloon Region.
Communities - Communities are responsible for matters that directly affect residents, such as education, welfare and culture. Belgium’s three communities are the Flemish Community, the French Community and the German Community.
Flanders - Although regions and communities do not overlap exactly, the Flemish Region and the Flemish Community have merged into the Flemish government. Its official language is Dutch. The Flemish Parliament sits in Brussels, which is the official capital city of Flanders (as well as Belgium).
11

population of Belgium in millions of people, with 6.2 million living in Flanders.

6

number of state reforms that have resulted in the federal system as it is today.

4

number of years for which the federal House of Representatives and the Senate are elected.