Luc Frieden (CSV) is delighted with the pace of the negotiations and the determination of both parties to reach a good compromise. Photo: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne

Luc Frieden (CSV) is delighted with the pace of the negotiations and the determination of both parties to reach a good compromise. Photo: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne

After the listening phase and the working group phase, it’s time for the political phase, from which the coalition agreement will emerge. It’s an agreement that the formateur, Luc Frieden, considers to be close at hand.

After civil society and the technicians, the politicians are back in the spotlight. This week, the CSV and DP delegations will be tackling the political questions: “The questions that the working groups don’t have the power to decide,” said  (CSV) on Monday evening, at the end of the first day of discussions in this format.

The working groups have, in a way, marked out the subjects within their respective remits to submit an inventory of the current situation to the negotiators, as well as possible avenues leading to an agreement on the subject. “An excellent piece of work.”

This roundtable discussion covered the subjects dealt with by all the working groups in a holistic manner. “On the basis of the documents sent to me over the previous days, I put forward the key points for discussion. Key points touching on economic, social and administrative procedural issues.”

There have been constructive discussions. “On many subjects, we have made good progress, so if the pace of negotiations is maintained, as is the sense of compromise that I have observed on both sides, I believe that by the end of next week, a coalition agreement could be reached,” said Frieden, who is pleased that the CSV and DP “share the same objectives.”

Meetings likely to last until the middle of next week

“What counts for me in these negotiations, and I always start there, are the political objectives. As we share these objectives--the programmes of the two parties are complementary and often identical--we discuss the means of achieving them.” The difficulty, insisted Frieden, is not in finding solutions to individual problems, but in arriving at an overall package that can take them all into account, “which, by definition, working groups limited to one theme cannot do.”

The negotiations will be put on hold this Thursday because  (DP), the current prime minister, will be attending the Paris meeting devoted to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. This break will allow everything that has been decided so far to be put down on paper. The timetable for next week has not yet been set. “We will probably still need meetings until the middle of next week.”

This article was first published in French on . It has been translated and edited for Delano.