First Fleming calls for closer ties with the Netherlands

In his keynote speech on the occasion of the Flemish holiday parliamentary speaker Jan Peumans called for closer co-operation between Flanders and the Netherlands. Mr Peumans also accused the federal tier of government of sometimes making closer ties more difficult.

The speaker of the Flemish parliament spoke of the cultural ties between Flanders and the Netherlands but also noted that the country is Flanders third most important trading partner. Flanders exports more to Germany and France, but seen per capita the Netherlands is the most important partner.

Mr Peumans accused the Belgian but also Flemish elite of investing a lot in good relations with France but not enough with the Netherlands. He pointed to a federal reluctance that had torpedoed cooperation between Bpost and post.nl and Flemish foreign policy that was besieged and sabotaged by federal diplomacy and the Belgian foreign ministry.

Mr Peumans called for greater economic and trade ties but also for greater co-operation between universities and within the Dutch Language Union.