Five months after Belgium held general elections, the main centre-right parties have agreed to form a coalition with French-speaking liberal Charles Michel as prime minister. “After 30 hours of non-stop negotiating yesterday, Michel was able to present a coalition agreement and a budget that includes tough measures and social reforms,” reports De Standaard. For instance, the retirement age will gradually raise to 67 years by the year 2030, the government will cut over 8 billion euros from its budget, and taxes will be lowered.
The coalition is nicknamed “Swedish” because of the member parties’ colours — blue (Flemish and French-speaking liberals), yellow (Flemish nationalists) and the cross (Flemish Christian democrats) — in accordance with Belgian political tradition.
The new government is unique on many accounts, writes French-speaking Le Soir —
Receive the best of European journalism straight to your inbox every Thursday
A 38-years old prime minister. This alone would be historical and revolutionary enough. Yet, a closer look at the government and the measures it advocates shows that the captain’s age and the fact that he is the first francophone liberal for decades are the least spectacular part of it: Michel I includes a separatist party and a French-speaking one, alone and faced with three Flemish parties. Something that’s never been seen before.
Was this article useful? If so we are delighted! It is freely available because we believe that the right to free and independent information is essential for democracy. But this right is not guaranteed forever, and independence comes at a cost. We need your support in order to continue publishing independent, multilingual news for all Europeans. Discover our membership offers and their exclusive benefits and become a member of our community now!
LIVE | On the ground: a closer look at the refugee crisis
Belarusian journalist Anton Trafimovitch and Greek journalist Stavros Malichudis document the situation of refugees in Europe and at its borders. They talk to Voxeurop about the reasons, challenges and difficulties behind their fieldwork.Go to the event >