Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Belgium marks one year without government

Belgium has now marked a year without a full government.

Ever since the June 13 elections, negotiations have stumbled over the linguistic divisions and the future make-up of the country, with parties representing the six million Flemish seeking more autonomy in line with their wealth and the 4.5 million Francophones trying to keep together a sense of Belgian nationhood.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yves Leterme said that up to three more months could be required to form a coalition.

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy, who was Belgian prime minister before going to the EU in December 2009, called the situation “extremely pitiful”.

He said that even though Mr Leterme had taken as much action as a caretaker premier could, Belgium would need a full government soon to decide on economic policy.

“There is a real chance that in the eyes of the EU we will fall short” in terms of economic policy, Mr Van Rompuy said.

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