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.