Legal framework

Flanders’ international competences are directly based on article 167, §1, of the Belgian Constitution. This article states that, although the King (i.e. the federal government) coordinates Belgium’s international relations, this does not infringe on the ability of the federated states (Communities and Regions) to engage in international co-operation, including the signing of treaties, for those matters within their responsibilities as established by the Constitution and in virtue thereof.

According to this so-called “in foro interno, in foro externo” principle, Flanders develops its own foreign policy in areas such as education, the environment, infrastructure, culture and social affairs. In order to reconcile the coordinating role of the federal government with the autonomy of the federated states, these authorities concluded a number of cooperation agreements. The following links will guide you to the authentic text of these agreements in Dutch and French, and in most cases also in German, as well as a translation in English.

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