Provinces, cantons, Länder discuss the conduct of foreign relations

Forum President George Anderson addresses the 100 participants in Brussels at the conference on foreign and external relations of federated entities.

In many federal countries, the regions (provinces, states, Länder, cantons) have the power to conduct foreign relations in certain sectors such as trade and commerce.

To share information about this and other issues of importance, the Forum recently co-organized an international dialogue between representatives and practitioners from the regions of countries as well as members of central governments in Europe and beyond.

The Forum and the Conference of European Regions with Legislative Power (REGLEG) organized a one-day seminar that examined current trends in the external relations of regions with legislative powers. The seminar started with a focus on the constitutional and legal instruments that regions with legislative powers could use to establish external relations.

About 100 representatives from European regions, academics and journalists tackled the issue of how regions with legislative powers practically implement their external policy, while focusing on public diplomacy, development cooperation and the organization of external policy.

The conference also discussed the Forum of Federations’ Global Dialogue program "Dialogues on Foreign Relations in Federations” which featured an advanced launch of the Forum’s Global Dialogue Book on this topic.

The event helped generate knowledge and understanding of foreign policy techniques among practitioners and international experts. The conference also helped increase public awareness of federalism as well as its principles and mechanisms.

The event took place in Brussels on Sept. 19, 2008.

A partner of the Forum in this conference was the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs, president of REGLEG in 2008.

Documents from the conference (PDF – opens in new window):

  1. Conference Program
  2. The Regional Integration Process and its Impact on the International Activities of Brazilian and South American Sub-National Governments by Alberto Kleiman
  3. The Development of Public Diplomacy in Québec by Nicole McKinnon
  4. The case of Flanders by Koen Verlaeckt
  5. Public Diplomacy: Case Study California by Ezilda Samoville
  6. Constituent Units, Development Cooperation and Multilateralism by Noé Cornago
  7. Catalan Cooperation by Xavier Martí González
  8. The Alberta Experience by Chris Kukucha
  9. Organisation of External Relations By Freddy Evens
  10. External relations of the Austrian Länder examples from Salzburg by Dr. Andreas Kiefer
  11. Organisation of External Relations: Case-Study: Schwyz by Dr. Georg Hess
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