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Flanders opens new offices for General Representation to EU

12:59 21/02/2019

The government of Flanders has opened a new office dedicated to its General Representation to the European Union on Rue Belliard in the EU quarter of Brussels. The offices were officially opened by minister-president Geert Bourgeois and General Representative Axel Buyse.

It’s only Buyse’s second month in the job; he replaced Julie Bynens, who was appointed the secretary-general of Flanders’ Department of Foreign Affairs last autumn. He’s not exactly new to the post, however: He served as the General Representative of Flanders to the EU previously, from 2008 to 2014.

Previous to becoming a diplomat, Buyse was a long-time journalist, including a five-year stint as world news editor at De Standaard.

The Flemish General Representation is part of the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the EU. While not every country has representatives to the EU at the regional level, in Belgium this is crucial as some interests – education and culture, for instance – are wholly the jurisdiction of the regional governments.

Flanders’ priorities and policies within the EU were set out in 2016 in the document “Vision of the Future of the European Union”, following the UK’s referendum to leave the union. “An increasing number of shared EU powers relate more to our powers as a federated state than they do to federal competences,” the document states. “In addition, in Belgium the biggest share of the EU budget goes to the federated states. So it is important for Flanders to strengthen its direct ties with the EU and for the government of Flanders as a whole to adopt a proactive EU reflex.”

Photo: The fully renovated Belliardstraat 65 office building is home to the General Representation of Flanders to the EU
©Nathalie Van Eygen/Herpain

Written by Flanders Today

Comments

Anon3

Constantly acting as though Flanders was already a separate country. So when Flanders actually does break away from Belgium -or Belgium simply disintegrates- the Flemish will already have their ducks in a row and will be ready to carry on business as usual.

Feb 22, 2019 10:44
TobiasG

@ANON3
It is common practice for regional governments to have representations in Brussels. For good reason. The EU fields many investment funds, cohesion funds, agricutural subsidies, research funding, business facillitation instruments, etc. at the sub-federal level.
Flemish, Waloon, or Andalusian, Lombardian, or Hessian locals for that matter, require support in navigating these schemes, in having their voice represented.
The Flemish strategy is correct in its objectives.

Feb 23, 2019 12:22