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BRUSSELS — In these times of financial crisis, the question gripping Belgium is whether $1.2 million a year is enough to make a retired king happy.
Belgium’s King Albert II stepped down last summer, and saw his annual public funding slashed from $15.4 million. Newspapers said on Thursday the 79-year-old former monarch sent out feelers for more taxpayer money to meet his bills, and the government was quick to refuse.
Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, a red-blooded socialist of poor immigrant background, told parliament that ‘‘the government does not intend to change a comma’’ in the royal stipend plan, eliciting warm applause from government parties and opposition alike.