EU hopes for end to Belgian political crisis

23rd April 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European Union expressed hope Friday that Belgium would overcome its political crisis, and played down concerns about its upcoming turn at the helm of the 27-nation bloc.

"I hope this situation in Belgium will be resolved," said Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency until Belgium takes over on July 1.

"You know, it is better to have a government of course. It's up to them to see how they will overcome this temporary situation," he told reporters, on the sidelines of NATO talks in Tallinn, Estonia.

Belgium's government collapsed on Thursday when a coalition party pulled out in protest at the slow pace of negotiations on devolving more federal powers to the country's Dutch-speaking and francophone linguistic regions, which have long been at odds.

King Albert II refused to immediately accept the resignation of Dutch-speaking Prime Minister Yves Leterme, and warned the feud which has threatened to tear the country apart could "seriously threaten" Belgium's "role at a European level."

But Moratinos showed little sign of concern, saying: "We have already worked on the main European topics" together with Belgium.

© 2010 AFP

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