King Philippe: parties should be ‘realistic’ and ‘finally’ form a federal government
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    King Philippe: parties should be ‘realistic’ and ‘finally’ form a federal government

    King Philippe said parties should be willing to make concessions in order to finally form a federal government. © Belga

    Political parties must drop their “exclusivities” and be willing to make more compromises in order to finally form a federal government, King Philippe said Thursday.

    “Let us be realistic and responsible,” King Philippe said. “The time has come to capitalise on the efforts of the past eight months, to drop exclusives and finally form a fully-fledged government.”

    The king’s address came during a yearly new year’s reception event gathering Belgium’s “constituted bodies,” made up of representatives of political, diplomatic, clerical, royal and judicial authorities.

    In his address, King Philippe said parties should not mistake the “patience” of Belgian citizens with indifference, adding that they expected “stability and decisiveness” from leaders in the face of pressing national and global challenges.

    “[Citizens] are well aware of global warming and of the depletion of the Earth,” as well as of the “distressing” rates of poverty and of the need to get “our public finances in order.”

    The king said parties should keep the public interest in mind, “strive for agreement” and be willing to drop some of their demands, dialling up the pressure to create a government 250 days after the federal election.

    The king’s speech on Thursday follows months of fraught negotiations and inter-party wrangling, with the two leading parties of Flanders and Wallonia repeatedly at odds over a possible coalition.

    The continued impasse at the federal level has already prompted five different royal informants, charged with sounding out parties for a federal coalition, to ask King Philippe to discharge them from their duties.

    The Belgian monarch also pointed to the example of governments at the regional, community and local levels, noting how they were being led by political leaders, some of whom had “very different” political tendencies, as well as to that of ordinary citizens.

    “They work together, driven by a shared common purpose, both in the north and the south of the country,” he said, noting that, as Belgium neared its 200th anniversary in 2030, citizens expected “responsible and resolute action, at every policy level.”

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times