“Crisis in the Low Countries” headlines De Volkskrant. Almost three months after elections in Holland and Belgium, negociations on the formation of new governments have stalled in both countries. The Amsterdam daily sees problems that apply to both countries: egocentric populism, public opinion that is turning away from a “short-winded” political system, and the fragmentation of the political landscape. The rise of anti-establishment parties like Geert Wilders’ PVV and Flemish nationalists N-VA is also a cause for concern – “Both parties keep harping on about matters that… could split the nation: in the Netherlands the cohabitation of immigrants and the Dutch, in Belgium the polity.”
In Belgium, with “pre-formation” Francophone socialist Elio Di Rupo throwing in the towel, and the king nominating two “mediators” to restart negociations to form the next government, Le Soir notes that even Francophone leaders are speculating whether the kingdom will split. “Not an intelligent choice,” for De Morgen, which accuses them using such worst case scenarios to pile pressure on negociators. “A trick,” argues De Standaard, aimed at blaming the breakdown in government talks on the Flemish.