Flanders and the Netherlands work for closer ties in Maastricht

Summary

Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters met with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte this week

Flemish and Dutch leaders discussed economic co-operation

Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters this week held a second Flemish-Dutch summit meeting with Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, this time in the city of Maastricht. The leaders and their delegations met to discuss economic co-operation. The first such meeting took place in Bornem, Antwerp province, in 2011.

Peeters was accompanied by Ingrid Lieten, minister for innovation, and Hilde Crevits, minister for transport. The Flemish delegation met with minister-president Rutte, transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen and economic affairs minister Henk Kamp.

Among the areas covered in this round of talks were a co-operation agreement between the chemical industries in Flanders and the Netherlands, involving energy, the effect on the climate, exchange of information and know-how and, most controversially, the extraction of shale oil. The two governments pledged to maintain and reinforce co-operation on innovation, and to develop deeper links on cultural matters, beginning with a joint presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2016.

The Netherlands exports for a value of €52 billion to Flanders every year, more than to the US and the growth economies of Brazil, India and China put together. Flanders exports about €27 billion worth of goods to the Netherlands.

Government of Flanders

Belgium is a federal state with several regional governments. The northern, Dutch-speaking region of Flanders is governed by the Flemish government, which was created when the Flemish Region and the Flemish Community joined forces in 1980. A minister-president presides over the government of Flanders, and Brussels is the capital city.
Competences - The government of Flanders is responsible for the economy, foreign trade, health care, energy, housing, agriculture, environmental concerns, public works and transport, employment policy, culture, education and science and innovation. Flanders also has the power to sign international treaties in these competencies.
Sole legislator - The powers of the Flemish government and of the federal government do not overlap. Therefore, only one government serves as legislator for each policy area. Flemish laws are called decrees. Decrees apply in co-ordination with federal laws.
Official holiday - 11 July is the official holiday of the Flemish Community, in commemoration of the Battle of the Golden Spurs in Kortrijk on 11 July 1302, when Flemings defeated the army of the French king. Flanders’ official anthem is “De Vlaamse Leeuw” (The Flemish Lion).
6

million people live in the Flemish Region.

5

provinces constitute the Flemish Region: West Flanders, East Flanders, Flemish Brabant, Antwerp and Limburg.

5

number of years for which the Flemish Parliament is elected. Its elections coincide with those of the European Parliament.