Belgium’s different federated entities have reached an agreement on better ministerial representation at EU Council meetings.
The Minister-Presidents of Flanders, Jan Jambon, and the German-speaking Community, Oliver Paasch, gave the announcement on Tuesday after a meeting.
The issue comes up regularly at the consultative committee linking the federal, regional and community governments. Due to the distribution of competencies between the different levels of government, Belgium sometimes delegates a federal minister and sometimes a minister from a federated entity. There is also a rotation system between the linguistic groups. Since some issues can straddle two levels of power, the federated entities do not always feel equitably represented.
This has led to discussions between them in recent times, the latest being Tuesday’s meeting between Jambon and Paasch.
“The federated entities now have a common position that they will present jointly” to the federal government, according to Paasch. The cooperation accord that regulates the distribution of competencies was negotiated before the last transfers of competencies, Jambon explained. Nor is there any reason for Flanders not to be in charge of Fisheries since the other two regions have no seaboard, he added.
The two ministers also agreed on an intermediary role that the German-speaking Community (Eastern Belgium) will now play between Flanders and Germany. For its part, Flanders will place its audit service at the disposal of the Eupen Government so that the German-speaking Community will have no need to develop one just for the nine communes that comprise it.