Even without a new national government, Belgium assumed July 1 the European Union’s presidency for a six-month term, assuring that the bloc will not suffer under its stewardship.
Belgium, which held general elections in mid-June, is still in talks to determine the makeup of its new coalition government representing the regions of Flanders and Wallonia. Negotiations are expected to last until September to October, observers say.
The kingdom vowed a “modest” EU presidency, and is expected to expedite talks on financial regulations and economic governance for Europe. The formation of the European External Action Service, the EU diplomatic corps, will also be a focus for Belgian authorities, Agence France-Presse reports. On trade issues, Belgium is anticipated to pursue talks on free trade agreements with Canada and India, according to Feedstuffs.
Outgoing Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme will represent the Belgian EU presidency.