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Deal reached on Belgium’s new government

A top CD&V official leaving negotiations early on Wednesday morning. © Belga

Nearly 500 days after Belgian citizens cast their votes, top party negotiators have reached an agreement for a new federal government.

The parties making up the incoming 7-party Vivaldi coalition clinched a deal early on Wednesday morning following marathon talks that stretched out since Tuesday evening.

As top party officials go over the details of the agreement, party leaders have now moved onto the next stage of deciding on the makeup of the future cabinet and of naming the new prime minister, set to be one of the two formators, the Parti Socialiste’s (PS) Paul Magnette or the Flemish liberal’s (Open Vld) Alexander De Croo.

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The agreement comes 493 days after the election on 26 May and includes a plan to pump €3.3 billion into the roll-out of new policies topped off with €1 billion for investments and €1 billion for temporary measures.

Negotiators agreed to substantial investments in rail, digitalisation and security, to a minimum tax for companies and also green-lighted previous plans for a digital tax on internet giants such as Google, Amazon, Alibaba and Facebook.

Under the deal, the incoming coalition agreed to increase the health care budget by 2.5% annually and to raise the minimum pension to €1,500 (gross), including for the self-employed, according to De Standaard.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times