For the past 15 months (and arguably, the past four years), Belgium has been without a government, after elections in 2010 led to a deadlock in coalition talks. This hasn't been all bad, and in fact it may have had some positive effects. As John Lanchester points out, no government has meant no cuts, no austerity, and stunning economic performance compared to neighbouring countries in the grip of slash and burn.
Now it looks that the deadlock is coming to an end. Caretaker Prime Minister Yves Leterme's resignation and move to the OECD seems to have spurred the political parties to reach a deal meaning a formal coalition in the near future. The bad news?
Financial markets and rating agencies are pressing the country to create an effective government capable of carrying out structural reforms and reducing debt.So, soon the Belgians will be suffering just like the rest of us. Bugger.
[Hat-tip: Crooked Timber, well, the comments at least]