Bourgeois visits the Netherlands for talks on trade mission

Summary

Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois made his first official visit to the Netherlands, Flanders’ strongest international ally, yesterday, where he held talks about trade missions and cultural co-operations with prime minister Mark Rutte

 
Photo by Jasper Juinen/BELGA

Cultural summit under discussion

Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois made his first official visit to the Netherlands yesterday where he met Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte. The two leaders agreed to finance a joint trade mission next spring along the same lines as the Dutch-Flemish trade mission to the United States last year. The leaders would decide on the destination at a later date, Bourgeois said.

Bourgeois was making his first foreign visit since his appointment as Flanders’ minister-president. He met Rutte for a working lunch in the prime minister’s official residence, known as the Catshuis. “It was a very good meeting, and I received a warm welcome,” Bourgeois said. “The policies we are pursuing in our two countries are very similar.”

The talks focused on strategic co-operation between Flanders and the Netherlands. The leaders aim to put the finishing touches to a treaty next year that will improve the inland canal linking Ghent and Terneuzen, which passes through Dutch territory. Financing still has to be agreed upon, but they expect some financial support to come from the European Union.

The talks also touched on cultural co-operation between Flanders and the Netherlands. The leaders plan to hold a summit next year in Flanders, where they will mark 20 years of cultural co-operation.

Photo: Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte meets with Geert Bourgeois in the Catshuis yesterday

Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois made his first official visit to the Netherlands, Flanders’ strongest international ally, yesterday, where he held talks about trade missions and cultural co-operations with prime minister Mark Rutte.

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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.