Belgian parties move to mend government schism | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 08.10.2011
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Belgian parties move to mend government schism

Belgium's feuding Flemish and francophone parties have apparently agreed on reforms aimed at the country's world-record 16-month-long political crisis. The deal was hailed as the most significant since WWII.

A map of Belgium superimposed on the country's flag

Could the crisis in Belgium be approaching its end?

Belgium's feuding parliamentarians agreed Saturday on an institutional reform aimed at ending a crisis that has left the country without a government for a year and a half.

Charles Michel, head of the French-speaking Reformist Movement, described the institutional reform, which devolves more power to the regions, as "the most significant since World War II."

Belgium has been without a cabinet for a world-record 482 days, but the country's rival Flemish and Walloons still have to agree on a common government platform.

Awaiting approval

That could yet prove difficult since the divide negotiators need to bridge is no longer simply linguistic but increasingly political, with Flanders leaning heavily to the right and Wallonia to the left.

Nevertheless, Wouter Van Besien, head of the Flemish Green party, said, "Dialog eventually won the day over cynicism."

The eight parties taking part in the two-month negotiations on devolution had reached a deal on some of the key points last month and have now ironed out their differences on the remaining issues.

They are expected to finish formulating the document on Monday, just in time for the deal to be presented to parliament.

Author: Gabriel Borrud (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Ben Knight

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