Flanders and the EU

The ‘foro interno, foro externo’ principle stipulates that Belgian federated states are responsible for the international policy aspects of their competences. Therefore, Flanders is responsible for the transposition of EU directives into Flemish law and the Flemish Parliament is responsible for the ratification of EU treaties. Flanders has established its own Permanent Representation to the EU, including a structure for internal harmonisation and reporting, to help carry out above responsibilities, to optimally support Flemish Ministers during EU ministerial councils, and to ensure a smooth flow of information and decision-making.

Cooperation agreement between the Belgian authorities
Since the Maastricht Treaty (1992), it is possible – partly because Belgium and Flanders insisted – for Ministers from federated states to represent their Member State in the Council of Ministers. Arrangements regarding the representation of Belgium in the Council are laid down in an internal Belgian cooperation agreement between the different competent authorities. This cooperation agreement sets forth the manner in which Belgian positions in the Council must be adopted, ensures a democratic basis, and establishes a connection between the EU and the Flemish policy levels.

The rotation system during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU (July - December 2021) and the French Presidency of the Council of the EU (January - June 2022):

  Spokesperson Assessor
Category I    
General and Foreign Affairs Federal Minister -

Economic and Financial Affairs

Federal Minister -
Budget Federal Minister -
Justice Federal Minister -
Home Affairs Federal Minister -
Asylum and migration Federal Minister -
Consumer issues Federal Minister -
Telecommunication Federal Minister -
Category II    
Internal Market Federal Minister Brussels-Capital Region
Public Health Federal Minister German-speaking Community
Employment & Social Affairs Federal Minister Brussels-Capital Region
Energy Federal Minister Walloon Region
Transportation Federal Minister Flemish Region
Category III    
Industry Brussels-Capital Region Federal Minister
Research Flemish Region Federal Minister
Environment Walloon Region Federal Minister
Category IV    
Culture - Audiovisual Affairs German-speaking Community -
Education Flemish Community -
Youth - Sports French Community -
Tourism Walloon Region -

Spatial planning - Housing policy Cohesion policy

Brussels-Capital Region -
Category V    
Fisheries Flemish Region -
Category VI    
Agriculture Federal Minister

Flemish Region / Walloon Region