Flanders strengthens foreign affairs team for Brexit talks

Summary

The region will be closely monitoring negotiations over Britain’s departure from the EU given the important economic consequences locally

Defending local interests

The government of Flanders is employing extra staff to strengthen its foreign affairs department for the duration of Brexit negotiations. The measure was taken to safeguard related Flemish economic interests, minister-president Geert Bourgeois has said.

Britain’s exit from the EU could have important economic consequences for Flanders, with the value of annual exports from Flanders to the UK about €27 billion. The government wants to monitor the negotiations as closely as possible, so three extra staff members will be hired at the foreign affairs department for the length of the talks.

The new employees will each focus on a different domain: the implications of Brexit in the EU, the implications in the UK and the impact outside the EU, with special attention to EU trade policy and external relations.

“Strengthening the Brexit team is no luxury if you consider the possible consequences of the UK’s exit for Flemish trade,” Bourgeois said. “It’s crucial that we not only monitor the negotiations closely but also proactively defend Flemish interests on an intra-federal and European level and with foreign partners.”

Photo courtesy VRT

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