As some of you may have noticed already, Belgium has from today on a new government. Finally. Yves Leterme is taking over as Prime minister from Guy Verhofstadt after presenting a governing programme promising a bit of everything to everyone, more money to the poor, less taxes to the rich, a reform here another one there, etc.
So, after nine months, a sweet baby new government has seen the light. But, like my old boss used to say “Don’t take every ugly baby”. And indeed, this one is ugly as the governmental programme avoids completely the critical issue of the last months: more autonomy for the regions. This, as you may remember, is asked for by the Flemish and feared by the Wallonians. Only that problems do not just disappear when they are not taken care of.
And, indeed, most Belgian citizen think that this government won’t see it’s third birthday; the reason for this being the regional elections in 2009 where the disappointed voters will probably turn to more radical parties. Seriously, I doubt that Leterme will be able to address the social, political and linguistic issues dividing Belgium in a way that reconciles the country. But probably, this is nothing he or anyone could do unless there is a NATIONAL movement.
Meanwhile, the administration keeps on working, people do their jobs, schools are open, trains are running, the markets are busy and somehow the new government won’t any more difference then the old one…