New Flemish commercial mission to Saudi Arabia

Thursday, 10 January 2019 15:49
New Flemish commercial mission to Saudi Arabia © Belga
A new Flemish economic mission will head to Saudi Arabia in March, despite Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois’ (N-VA) earlier statements, De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad wrote Thursday.
The business trip is organized by the regional agency of Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT).

In the past, the N-VA repeatedly denounced violations of human rights in Saudi Arabia, deploring, among other things, this country’s election to the UN Women's Rights Committee in 2017. At the time, Geert Bourgeois had notably announced in Parliament that Flanders would no longer organise any economic missions in that State, as long as the situation did not evolve favourably.

Despite these previous statements, Mr. Bourgeois believes today that this trade mission is not a problem. "It is FIT’s autonomous decision to organise the mission at the request of the companies. In that sense, the Minister-President is not politically involved, and is not therefore inconsistent," his spokesperson said. The latter emphasises the necessity to distinguish economic missions organised by FIT from those that are government-organised.

Although it has the right to do so, the Flemish Government does not intend to stop FIT’s initiative. "It concerns areas that commercialise harmless products," the Prime Minister’s spokesperson further stated. "As long as there is no general ban in Belgium, Europe, or the United Nations, and we are not exporting weapons, there is no problem," the head of the Mohsin Abbas mission stressed for his part.

Even so, opposition parties Groen and sp.a still ask questions.

The Brussels Times
Google Plus

More Stories

Teacher shortage costs secondary students two hours of classes per week

Teacher shortage costs secondary students two hours of classes per week

An average 6% of classes in secondary schools were not taught in the 2017-2018 academic year due to a lack of teachers, La Libre reported on Friday.

Aalst Carnival faces removal from world heritage list

Aalst Carnival faces removal from world heritage list

The possible removal of the Aalst Carnival from the list of UNESCO world heritage sites will be examined in December, following the controversy sparked by floats denounced as anti-Semitic, the UN body said on Friday.

Docks shopping centre wants rid of cinema complex

Docks shopping centre wants rid of cinema complex

The management of the Docks Bruxsel shopping centre in Schaerbeek has applied to the commercial court in Brussels to have the White Cinema evicted.