The stand that Joachim Coens, the chairman of the Flemish centrist CD&V party, adopts in the next few days will be crucial to efforts to form a federal government in Belgium.
Open Vld (liberal) leader Egbert Lachaert, tasked with cobbling together the new government, is scheduled to report to King Philippe on the result of his efforts by Friday. He is expected to map out a clear direction for the formation of the next administration.
Lacheart is reported to be studying a so-called rainbow coalition, comprising the liberals (blue), socialists (red) and ecologists (green). The question now is whether the CD&V (orange) will join the group, turning it into a so-called Vivaldi coalition, which would have a much stabler majority in Parliament.
“Much will depend on the plan Egbert Lachaert and the other parties present to us,” Coens said on Sunday in Het Nieuwsblad. “If it is an ethical rainbow agenda with a Belgian sauce that brings them together, count us out,” he warned.
Lachaert is scheduled to report on the progress of negotiations on the formation of the new government in a briefing to CD&V parliamentarians on Monday. He explained to Het Nieuwsblad that CD&V had a complete programme for relaunching the economy, with a special focus on strengthening Belgians’ buying power, a fair tax system, investment in health care and transitioning to a sustainable economy.
“The government needs to be organised more effectively, the budget path has to be sustainable, and we need to be concerned with the most vulnerable,” he stressed. ”That is what we wish to achieve. That is what it is all about.”
It remains to be seen whether the other parties share this vision and, if so, what they are ready to propose to achieve it. “The starting point is different from that of the Purple-Yellow Coalition (Socialists, Liberals, N-VA),” Coens said.
“A coalition with the PS (Socialist Party) and the N-VA (Flemish rightwing party) is our preferred choice; that scenario won our trust,” he explained. “If another proposal is on the table, an effort will need to be made to win the same trust in the first place, before going any further.”
If what emerges is a rainbow ethical agenda with Belgian sauce, the CD&V will head the opposition “with great pleasure,” Coens said. “But if it’s a centrist coalition that is proposed, with a strong response on socio-economic issues, then we will listen,” he stressed.
The Brussels Times