Flanders signs memo of understanding with Basque government
Flanders has signed an agreement of co-operation with the Basque government of Spain, with political autonomy high on both regions’ agendas
“Flanders sets an example”
The co-operation covers areas like professional training, the workforce and the environment. It also opens the way for political collaboration in areas such as co-existence and human rights, as well as a commitment to argue the case of autonomous regions in Europe.
VRT reported a massive presence of the Spanish and Basque press at the signing. Basque politicians regard the agreement with Flanders as a sign of recognition of the status of the autonomous region by a prominent European counterpart.
“Flanders sets an example for us,” Urkullu said. “You can sign treaties, for instance, which we cannot.” The agreement, he said, “increases the view of Flanders and the Basque region as world players with their own voice and their own presence on the world stage”.
The Basque region also maintains strong ties with Scotland, and Urkullu is considering a referendum on independence. Unlike Scotland, however, the question in the Basque region is overshadowed by the history of terrorist violence by the separatist group ETA.
“I am quite convinced that this declaration of intent between the Flemish and Basque governments will be an important step in our co-operation.” Bourgeois said. “Themes such as research and development, environment and training are top priorities for Flanders. I am certain that the bundling of our strengths will deliver a win-win situation for both Flanders and the Basque country.”
Photo by Vincent West/Reuters/Corbis
Government of Flanders
million people live in the Flemish Region.
provinces constitute the Flemish Region: West Flanders, East Flanders, Flemish Brabant, Antwerp and Limburg.
number of years for which the Flemish Parliament is elected. Its elections coincide with those of the European Parliament.