"We can do little without our foreign partners"
On 22 January, Minister-President Bourgeois welcomed the diplomatic corps for the annual new year's reception. In his speech he emphasized the importance of international cooperation for the world and for Flanders.
Against the background of bloody conflicts in the world, some close to European borders, Minister-president Bourgeois expressed his belief that only through dialogue, mediation and rapprochement new conflicts can be avoided.
This also applies to the Brexit negotiations. A "no-deal" between the EU and the UK will have consequences for the European and British economies. Not in the least for the Flemish export-oriented open economy. Minister-President Bourgeois repeated his call for an honorable agreement for all parties, a trade-friendly brexit and a broad cooperation with the UK in the future.
“The expansion and deepening of the Flemish international network continues in 2018”, announced Minister-president Bourgeois. The agency Flanders Investment and Trade, with more than 100 offices worldwide, is expanding with new posts in Ghana, Nigeria and China. Also the diplomatic network grows: since 1 January Flanders has a General Representation to the Council of Europe, the OECD and Unesco; the district of the General Representation in London now includes Ireland; and in 2019 Flanders will open a new post in Rome.
Minister-president Bourgeois ended with the announcement of an international conference on Flemish foreign policy. "This conference will not only make up the balance for the Flemish foreign policy but also and particularly, present our future international policy. It goes without saying that our international partners will be involved in this."