Still many issues on the agenda

1st November 2007, Comments 0 comments

1 November 2007, BRUSSELS - The Christian democrat and liberal negotiators finished talks on the social economic sections of the draft coalition accord at about 2 am this morning. They managed to wrestle their way through all eight chapters of the draft document. The most difficult dossiers – state reform, the Brussels- Halle-Vilvoorde electoral region and the budget – still have to be addressed.

1 November 2007

BRUSSELS - The Christian democrat and liberal negotiators finished talks on the social economic sections of the draft coalition accord at about 2 am this morning. They managed to wrestle their way through all eight chapters of the draft document. The most difficult dossiers – state reform, the Brussels- Halle-Vilvoorde electoral region and the budget – still have to be addressed.

Earlier in the week formateur Yves Leterme said that he wanted an accord ready by Wednesday evening covering all the chapters, except for state reform, B-H-V, and the budget. The formateur announced a briefing early in the evening on Wednesday, but at about 9.30 pm the many reporters that had gathered were informed that not much communication could be expected for the remainder of the evening.

The talks continued until 2 am.

In addition to the three major political dossiers, a number of other issues have also been pushed back until after the break. Topics that still have to be discussed include cuts to the civil service, the representation of the regions in the NMBS administrative bodies, the unemployment benefits, the establishment of the growth norm in healthcare insurance and temporary labour.

The negotiators will now take several days of vacation before starting on the most difficult topics next week. MR chairman Didier Reynders and Open Vld negotiator Karel De Gucht were already absent from the talks on Wednesday,

Formateur Yves Leterme will now work behind the scenes to try and pave the way for agreement on the issues of Belgium's linguistic communities and the budget.

Next Tuesday will mark the 149th day in the formation negotiations, officially making it the longest government formation process in Belgian history.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news

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