On 8 July Minister-president Bourgeois delivered his yearly Flanders Day address to the corps diplomatique at Hôtel Errera. The Republic of Srpska Representative attended this event, by accepting Minister-president invitation.
Mr. Burgeois thanked the foreign dignitaries for showing their support at the time of the attacks in Brussels and Zaventem, without forgetting that, since then, other cities have suffored acts of terrorism as well, such as Orlando and Istanbul, not to mention the suffering of the populations of countries such as Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Nigeria and Yemen.
Speaking about the consequences of a Brexit and the future of the European Union, Bourgeois urged to avoid having a debate in terms of more or less Europe, but instead to focus on delivering a better Europe. A Europe that focuses on those areas where it creates added value by virtue of its scale. He pleaded once again for a soft Brexit, with far-reaching trade agreements with the UK, and for a “Union for the North Sea”, a macro-strategy between States and federated entities, such as Flanders, that border on the North Sea, which would also include the EU and would focus on issues such as energy, maritime transport and sustainability.
Furthermore Bourgeois announced a second Flemish Climate and Energy Summit, which will take place on 1 December. The Government of Flanders aspires to achieve a low-carbon yet economically prosperous society. He concluded his address by quoting Flemish writer and politician August Vermeylen, who wrote in 1900: “We mean to be Flemings in order to become Europeans.” – but not without adding that the Flemish people are not only assuming their responsibilities as ‘Europeans’ but equally as world citizens.