International policy: Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs
For Flanders, maintaining active foreign relations is an obvious continuation of its domestic policy. With its open economy and open-hearted population, Flanders attaches enormous importance to close co-operation with other countries and regions. This international co-operation is facilitated by a network of diplomatic representatives, economic representatives and investment prospectors.
Autonomous foreign policy
Not only does Flanders pursue an autonomous domestic policy, it also acts as a political and economic partner for foreign countries. The Government of Flanders is able to conclude treaties with other countries and regions on matters for which Flanders is competent.
This foreign autonomy is virtually non-existent in other federal countries. It tends to raise a few eyebrows: doesn't a federal state with a foreign policy clash with its country's own federal foreign policy?
Not at all, it seems: Belgium has found a working solution for this. When it comes to foreign affairs, the different governments have to consult with each other. In this way there can be no threat to the coherence of Flanders's and Belgium's foreign policy. This leaves the Government of Flanders to consistently carry through its domestic policy in its international relations.
Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs
The Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs was designed to be the key strategic component of a policy that intentionally looks beyond our borders. This aim is being given tangible shape via a network of official Representatives of the Government of Flanders in other parts of the world.