COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Belgium/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation

Inter-ministerial co-operation, whether at the federal, regional or community level, takes place between ministers in the following fields that have an impact on cultural policy: foreign affairs, education, employment, environment, media, mobility, tourism, etc. These conferences do not have decisive power, but are facilitators for consultation and dialogue between the different levels of government within the federal state.

Official inter-community co-operation takes place between the French Community and the German-speaking Community, the French Community and the French Community Commission in Brussels, and between the Flemish Community and the German-speaking Community.

In 2004 a formal "inter-ministerial conference" was set up for "science policy and culture". It was only in September 2016 that an actual meeting took place. Eleven ministers of the different government levels with relevant competences were invited. On the agenda of the first meeting, there were a number of current topics such as the regulated book price, cultural communication in Brussels and the extension of the branch shelter to the performing arts.

In 2012, after a long period of preparation and negotiation, a cooperation agreement between the Flemish and French-speaking Communities was signed by the respective ministers for culture. In a first phase, a framework text was developed, indicating the scope of the agreement. After that, a cooperation platform with senior policy officials was installed. At present, the cooperation is the basis for yearly project calls stimulating exchange between the cultural operators from the Flemish and French Community, next to the support for one large-scale event (e.g. the NEXT festival).

Flemish Community

The Flemish government acts as a Board of Governors for inter-ministerial co-operation. In principle, decisions are taken by mutual agreement between ministries.

Cooperation between administrators of different policy domains happens on different levels on a day-to-day basis. Concrete dossiers are prepared in so called "inter-cabinet teams" before they are discussed in the Flemish government. The leading administrators of the Department CJM, the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs, Flanders Investment and Trade and Tourism Flanders consult each other on a regular basis and protocols have been developed between the policy domains of culture and education. These protocols constitute the frame for collaboration between the different domains.

French-speaking Community of Belgium

The French-speaking Community of Belgium cooperates with the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region on the implementation of several transverse plans: the fight against social exclusion, equal opportunities, the struggle against domestic violence, children’s rights and association charter. The latest plan to be set up relates to youth affairs. All these plans have cultural dimensions and give rise to partnerships between cultural operators and public authorities for the accomplishment of intersectoral projects.

There are permanent cooperation arrangements between the Culture Administration and other administrations, specifically in terms of adult literacy, the development of culture at school, heritage and tourism.

Finally, the French-speaking Community of Belgium organises collaborations which are all covered by a cooperation agreement with the other Communities in Belgium. For example, a cultural cooperation agreement was set up in 2010 with the German-speaking Community, and one in 2012 with the Flemish Community. Moreover, with Belgium being a member of many international organisations, such as the EU, the Council of Europe, La Francophonie, etc., there is coordination between the federated bodies and the Federal State to determine the Belgian position. For instance, intra-Belgian coordination was set up as from the birth of federalism for everything to do with Youth, in particular in the framework of the European institutions (European Union and Council of Europe).

German-speaking Community

The German-speaking Community has concluded co-operation agreements with the French Community and with the Flemish Community, as well as with the Walloon Region and the Province of Liège. These agreements govern the cooperation of the partners in all corresponding areas of responsibility (cultural affairs, personal / social matters, teaching / training, employment). Special agreements have been signed with the French Community, including for cultural and audiovisual matters.


Chapter published: 16-01-2018

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