OK, so you shouldn’t expect any new Belgian government just yet. That “breakthrough” I discussed in my last post still seems legitimately to have been just that, it’s just that a new government still has to be formed. The Constitutional Convention has done its work, you could say (by way of American analogy), but an actual government does still need to be cobbled together from a selection of Flemish and Walloon parties. That exercise should not present too much of a problem, now that the main issues that had separated Flanders and Wallonia have been dealt with.
That also means formateur Elio Di Rupo doesn’t have to be so diplomatic anymore. He seems a rather calm and patient man – indeed, such qualities were a prerequisite for making any progress towards resolving this intra-community stalemate – but even he couldn’t resist recently telling Flemish television – as picked up by the newspaper De Standaard – who he feels really got in the way of his work and made it take sooooooo long. No surprises: it was the Flemish N-VA party headed by Bart De Wever, a party whose stated goal is the eventual (and peaceful, and gradual) secession of Flanders from Belgium. Di Rupo claims to have gotten “zero results” out of De Wever during the long course of negotiations.
He also disputed De Wever’s claim that the new governmental accord serves to harm Flemish interests. After all, the other Flemish political parties* signed up to it. Surely four out of five parties cannot be wrong!
* If you’re interested, they are: Open VLD, SP.A, CD&V and Groen! Note that all punctuation, including Groen!’s exclamation-mark, is as found in the original name.