Flemish framework for the EU policy

The ‘foro interno, foro externo’ principle stipulates that the Belgian federated states are also responsible for the international aspects of their competences. All agreements regarding the representation of Belgium to the Council have been laid down in an internal Belgian cooperation agreement between the diverse authorities.

Flanders is also responsible for the consent with the European treaties within the framework of the ratification procedure and the transposition of EU Directives in the Flemish regulation. In order to meet those judicial responsibilities, to optimally support the Flemish Ministers during European ministerial councils and to realise a smooth flow of information and position taking, Flanders has developed its own Representation to the EU, as well as a structure for internal harmonisation and reporting.

Cooperation agreement between the Belgian authorities

Since the Maastricht Treaty (1992), it has also become possible – partly because Belgium and Flanders insisted – that Ministers from federated states represent their Member State in the Council of Ministers. All agreements regarding the representation of Belgium to the Council have been laid down in an internal Belgian cooperation agreement between the diverse authorities. This cooperation agreement also contains agreements regarding the development of the position that will take the representative in the name of Belgium. In this manner, a democratic embedding is provided, as well as a connection between the European and the Flemish policy levels.

Flanders is also responsible for the consent with the European treaties within the framework of the ratification procedure and the transposition of EU Directives in the Flemish regulation when they pertain to Flemish competences. In order to meet those judicial responsibilities, to optimally support the Flemish Ministers during European ministerial councils and to realise a smooth flow of information and thorough position taking, Flanders has developed its own Representation to the EU, as well as a structure for internal harmonisation and reporting.

General Representation of the Government of Flanders to the EU

Flanders has a Representation within the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the European Union. The General Representation is headed by the General Representative of the Government of Flanders, next to a series of attachés from the different Flemish administrations. These Flemish attachés take part in working groups by the Council, in which they can operate as Belgian spokesperson - depending on the Council formation.

The General Representation forms Flanders' front office with regard to the European affairs. For position determining reasons, they report on the most recent European trends to the Flemish administrations (back office) that are responsible for the final determination of policy.
The General Representation keeps contacts with the European institutions, other Member States and regions.

The General Representation has grown into an extensive team. This growth must be seen as a Government of Flanders policy to structurally enlarge the General Representation by posting from the Flemish administrations.

Website of the General Representation within the Belgian Permanent Representation to the EU.

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