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Get ready for ever looser federal ties, says Belgium’s king

Belgium’s King Albert II on Tuesday told feuding francophone and Dutch-speaking communities to “prepare” for ever looser federal ties.

Urging citizens to “look to the future,” the king said “new ways of living together” had to be found to “resolve the thorny questions which have divided us.”

In the text of a speech to be broadcast on the eve of Belgium’s national day, he said a “new equilibrium” had to be found for the federal state.

Albert’s intervention comes as Belgium’s political parties wrangle on forming a coalition to take over its government after elections on June 13 in which Flemish nationalists emerged as triumphant in the Dutch-speaking north.

French-speaking Socialist Elio Di Rupo is currently charged by the king with trying to form a new parliamentary alliance across Belgium’s linguistic communities.

The outgoing caretaker government is also chairing the European Union, with Belgium holding the bloc’s presidency until the end of the year.