Sunday, November 27, 2011

Belgian leaders agree on federal budget

“A 19-month political feud between Belgium's political leaders had ended with a budget deal that met the European Union structure a day after a debt downgrade.

The budget envisages a fall in Belgium's public deficit to 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012.

"There is an agreement," the spokesperson for Elio Di Rupo, the French-speaking Socialist premier-to-be, told the AFP news agency.

Di Rupo had been trying to form a government based on a six-party coalition. But he tendered his resignation on Monday after talks for the 2012 budget - agreement on which is a condition for forming a government - ground to a halt.

King Albert II, who had stepped in throughout negotiations to soothe tempers and urge politicians to find agreement to end 18 months without a formal government.

"As a next step, he has asked the chief negotiator to form a government as quickly as possible," the palace said in a statement.”

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