On 18 February, Minister-president Geert Bourgeois officially opened the General Representation of the Government of Flanders to the EU at its new location. Together with the Belgian Permanent Representation to the EU, of which the Flemish Representation is an integral part, the representation moved at the end of 2018 to Belliardstraat 65, right in the heart of the Brussels European district.
Minister-president Bourgeois emphasized the importance for Flanders to pursue its own foreign policy. Certainly through an institution as important as the European Union. Since the nineties, successive Flemish governments have therefore paid special attention to their representation at the EU. The EU representation is for Flanders the most important diplomatic post as well as the largest.
The General representation is led by two Flemish diplomats - currently Axel Buyse and his deputy, Vicky Reynaert. The diplomats are supported by a strong team of more than 20 civil servants, seconded from the departments and agencies of the Flemish government. These attachés represent the Flemish and Belgian authorities within the Council of the European Union. They also build a network of contacts within the European institutions (eg the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions) and with the other Belgian authorities at federal and state level.