Belgium’s Prime Minister Yves Leterme is one of the few European Union leaders not to attend the Mediterranean Union summit in Paris. Instead, he stayed at home to focus on talks aimed at averting a new government crisis.
Leterme is under pressure to make progress on negotiating a new balance of power between Belgium’s French and Dutch speaking politicians.
He has until Tuesday to do it.
Constitutional reform talks have been deadlocked for months and Leterme needs an acceptable compromise to prevent the collapse of his fragile seven-party government coalition.
Fears that any “new deal” could include tough immigration laws have prompted demonstrations and a hunger strike by both legal and illegal immigrants.
Hardliners in both Dutch and French speaking parties are pushing for benefits for their respective communities, causing many migrants to believe their concerns will be overlooked.