The first official visit of Frans Timmermans to Wallonia (without passing through Brussels or Flanders) was an opportunity to strengthen a bilateral agreement that focuses on competitiveness.
Cooperation between neighbouring countries within the European Union is gaining importance. In the age of globalization, maintaining and enhancing the competitiveness of the Dutch and Wallonia economies is one of the major challenges of our society: a sustainable economic growth aimed at competitiveness and improve the citizens living standards.
In this context, the Ministers-Presidents of the Walloon Region and the French Community of Belgium and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs signed a cooperation agreement in 2002. This agreement, among other things, was created for project cooperation and joint programs in the field of technology and innovation.
The nine key sectors in the Netherlands also share an underlying approach with the competitiveness of Wallonia: the collaboration and business networking / education / public authority may be further developed, especially since the partners have the structures and means ad hoc through the Interregional program.
The objectives of this cooperation are:
- Strengthen the competitiveness of our economies and our businesses in an increasingly globalized world
- Improve the implantation climate for business in our territory
- Contribute to sustainable economic growth
- Create a positive image that shows that our country, our businesses and our institutions are among the world leaders in innovation and competitiveness.
The achievement of these objectives is part of the bilateral cooperation agreement of 28 March 2002. In addition, the current state of cooperation is taken into account. The following assets apply:
- Central position in northwest Europe
- The importance of the logistics sector, recognized by the contacts established between Wallonia and the Port of Rotterdam, which is also highlighted in the growing cooperation between the ports of Rotterdam and Liege.
- Actions and cross-border partnerships, particularly in the European Interreg Rhine-Meuse programme.
- The role of diplomatic and commercial AWEX representatives in The Hague and Maastricht, the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation to the Hague and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Brussels and the Netherlands Consulate in Liege
- The creation and business activities of the Club Wallonie / Netherlands.
Programme of the visit
In addition to signing the agreement at the Hotel de Ville de Liege in the presence of Mayor De Meyer, the program contained testimonials from companies including Jaap QUIST, Director of Steenbergen Transport who has just opened a new distribution centre in Chaineux (Verviers), visit to the Port of Liège with the testimony of Port of Rotterdam witnessing their good collaboration with the PAL and Logistics in Wallonia, a visit to the Airport of Charleroi, an overview on competitiveness, sort of like speed-dating with Wallonia companies ..