3.4.6 Other relevant issues
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs subsidises the VIW, "Vlamingen in de Wereld", which is an active network of Flemings worldwide.
The German-speaking Community is actively engaged in building and enlarging its own foreign relations. Due to the size of the Community (854 km²) and the number of its population (70 000), this cooperation is mainly directed at other German speaking regions, or European autonomous regions of comparable size. The main focus is the direct transborder neighbouring regions, such as the German Bundesländer Rhineland-Palatinate and Northrhine-Westfalia, Luxembourg or the Netherlands.
The German-speaking Community has signed bilateral agreements with 7 European states: Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Italy (South Tyrol). Many of these agreements are based on accords previously drawn up by the then Belgian central state; some have been complemented by individual agreements, some have been changed to structurally accommodate the new distribution of competences, others simply remain with their original wording and action. Most of them, while referring to cultural agreements, define culture widely to include education, sports and science.
Two multilateral agreements have been drawn up on regional basis; they are founded on the Euro region structure, which has been consolidated over the past years in European transborder regions. One is the Euregio Maas-Rhein, which includes regions in three countries (Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands), the other the European Greater Region Saar-Lor-Lux, with Luxembourg and regions from Belgium, France and Germany.
The German-speaking Community of Belgium is represented since 1994 in the EU Committee of the Regions through its president. It also participates in the Initiative of Regions with legislative Competences, which includes Flanders, the Walloon Region, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Salzburg, Scotland and Catalonia. Furthermore, it participates in the Advisory Inter-parliamentary Committee of the Benelux-States and the Advisory Congress on Municipalities and Regions in Europe.