Finally, a Government After 652 Days: New Belgian PM Debuts at EU Summit | World News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium’s new premier arrived for a European Union summit on Thursday fresh from his swearing-in ceremony, exultantly bumping elbows with fellow leaders as he told them his country finally had a proper government after 652 days.

Summits of the 27-nation EU had become used to a “caretaker” Belgian prime minister since December 2018 when the ruling coalition collapsed, leading to Belgium’s longest ever stretch without a government.

But Alexander De Croo, a Flemish liberal who had served as acting finance minister in the caretaker government since an inconclusive election 16 months ago, was sworn in on Monday just five hours before sitting down with EU leaders.

“I’m very happy to be here and to meet my colleagues for the first time, I’m happy to announce in Belgium we finally have a new government,” he told them.

Belgium’s deep decentralisation and linguistic divide between Flanders and the French-speaking

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New Belgian PM debuts at EU summit

By Marine Strauss

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium’s new premier arrived for a European Union summit on Thursday fresh from his swearing-in ceremony, exultantly bumping elbows with fellow leaders as he told them his country finally had a proper government after 652 days.

Summits of the 27-nation EU had become used to a “caretaker” Belgian prime minister since December 2018 when the ruling coalition collapsed, leading to Belgium’s longest ever stretch without a government.

But Alexander De Croo, a Flemish liberal who had served as acting finance minister in the caretaker government since an inconclusive election 16 months ago, was sworn in on Monday just five hours before sitting down with EU leaders.

“I’m very happy to be here and to meet my colleagues for the first time, I’m happy to announce in Belgium we finally have a new government,” he told them.

Belgium’s deep decentralisation and linguistic divide between Flanders

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7 parties agree on Belgian government led by Liberal De Croo

Updated

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7 parties agree on Belgian coalition government

BRUSSELS — Almost 500 days after Belgian parliamentary elections, seven parties from both sides of the linguistic aisle agreed early Wednesday on forming a fully functioning majority government that will center on dealing with the pandemic and its devastating economic impact.

A final negotiating session that lasted almost 24 hours found agreement on a common budget and had only one issue left to decide: who would succeed Sophie Wilmes as prime minister. The seven parties consist of Liberals, Socialists and Greens, divided into separate linguistic entities, and the Dutch-speaking Christian Democrats.

“The big political hurdles are behind us and I am happy we were able to forge a program with seven partners,” said Christian Democrat negotiator Servais Verherstraeten.

Led by Dutch-speaking Liberal Alexander De Croo and francophone Socialist Paul Magnette, the parties found money to fund new initiatives like a higher minimum pension and improved public services, while hoping to

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