Culture, competition, innovation: Flanders sets out its ambitions within EU presidency

Flanders has ambitious plans to play a leading role during the Belgian EU presidency, minister president Jan Jambon said on Monday. Among other things, he advocated restoring European state aid rules.

Last week, prime minister Alexander De Croo presented the federal priorities for the six-month presidency, which begins in January. However, Jambon sees no risk of a cacophony of priorities if all Belgium’s communities and regions have their say. “We’re staying perfectly within our competences,” he said.

Jambon underlined the importance of technological developments to tackle present and future challenges, and his belief in that technological revolution. “More than ever, we want to be Europe’s innovative locomotive,” he said. “The EU presidency comes at just the right time for that.”

"We want to show the products, services and achievements that are making a difference far beyond our borders"

He believes the presidency is an excellent opportunity for Flanders to show off its assets. “We want to show the products, services and achievements that are making a difference far beyond our borders and how we impact European lifestyles,” he said. “Flanders is looking at Europe, but Europe is also looking at Flanders.”

One of the common threads is competitiveness. Jambon called for the state aid rules that were relaxed during the Covid pandemic to be restored. That relaxation is leading to a subsidy race between member states, he said, threatening open economies such as Flanders: “Our pockets are not as deep as Germany’s.”

Jambon also promises to offer a lot within the field of culture, for which he is the responsible minister in the Flemish government. In May, he will receive European culture ministers and he intends to launch a debate on the role that culture and heritage play in the European identity.

In April, he will bring together another group of government leaders from “strong European regions” “to forge active partnerships and make our voices heard around European decision-making tables”.


#FlandersNewsService | Minister president Jan Jambon visits Microsoft during a trade mission by the Flemish government to Arizona and California, 6 December © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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