The Belgian Permanent Representation to the European Union: Mailbox, Messenger, or Representative?

Bart Kerremans and Jan Beyers

in The National Co-ordination of EU Policy

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199248056
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601545 | DOI:
 The Belgian Permanent Representation to the European Union: Mailbox, Messenger, or Representative?

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The purpose of this chapter is to examine the role of the Belgian permanent representation to the European Union from two angles. The first is sceptical, and asks, in light of the presence of all federal Belgian institutions (including the federal Foreign Ministry) in Brussels, what role the Belgian permanent representation plays beyond that of postbox, of transmitter of messages between the EU and Belgium and vice versa? The second viewpoint is quite the opposite, and is the perspective of high expectations: being in Brussels and representing Belgium’s interests in the same city could be beneficial, with a local presence providing added value to the work a permanent representation traditionally plays or is expected to play. What that added value may be can be determined by looking at the general benefits and the extent to which they are used productively by the Belgian permanent representation, and at the particular dividends it pays within the context of the Belgian federal political system. The first section of the chapter looks at the internal organization of the Belgian permanent representation (personnel and internal operation), the second looks at the position of the permanent representation in the Belgian policy co-ordination system, and the last discusses the added value and role of the Belgian permanent representation in relation to its presence inside the country it is supposed to represent.

Keywords: added value; Belgian federal political system; Belgian interests; Belgian permanent representation; Belgium; Brussels; EU policy; European Union; internal operation; internal organization; local presence; national policy; personnel; policy co-ordination; role

Chapter.  8765 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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