The man given the seemingly impossible task of trying to form a government among squabbling factions in Belgium has said there has been a breakthrough.
The leader of the French-speaking socialists, Elio di Rupo, said the eight parties have succeeded in ‘overcoming obstacles’ that have caused difficulties.
Belgium has the dubious honour of holding the world record of being the country without a government for the longest period of time.
There has been a caretaker administration for 15 months since the inconclusive election in June 2010.
In general the deadlock centres on arguments between the relatively wealthy Dutch-speaking community in the north and the poorer French-speakers in the south.
According to di Rupo, differences over the BHV bi-lingual region covering Brussels and its suburbs have now been settled.
Before the positive statement at the outcome it had been reported that the talks had hit a ‘deep blockage’ and di Rupo warned that the work to form a government is far from finished with numerous issues yet to be worked out.
Over the past 460 days there has even been talk of Belgium breaking apart.