The Belgian host nation policy is the national strategy defined and implemented towards international governmental and supranational organisations which have headquarters or a representation in Belgium, in order to have them feel welcome and valued.
The host nation policy is part of the Belgian foreign policy and it is thus coordinated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs under the responsibility of the Prime Minister, and implemented by the Inter-ministerial Committee for host nation policy.
The Belgian host nation policy includes two important parts:
Belgium’s compliance with international treaties in its dealings with international organisations on its territory, i.e. the granting of privileges and immunities.
the hosting “as such” which includes all actions which, besides and above the granting and implementation of privileges and immunities, contribute to make Belgium more attractive for international organisations to establish their headquarters.
The Inter-ministerial Committee for Host Nation Policy (in French CIPS: Comité Interministériel pour la Politique de Siège; in Dutch ICZ : Interministerieel Comité voor het Zetelbeleid) is in charge of the implementation of the host nation policy of the Belgian authorities towards the international governmental and supranational organisations.
The Inter-ministerial committee is the equivalent, at the level of the Belgian Federal State, of the Brussels Commissioner for Europe and International Organisations at the Regional level.
Mandated as the Belgian focal point for host nation affairs vis-à-vis all international organisations, CIPS fulfils many tasks:
ensure the mutual exchange of information among Belgian authorities on all aspects of the HNP to ensure coherence in implementation of this policy;
coordinate positions of all levels of governance in Belgium, i.e. the federal authorities, the language-based communities and the geography-based regions, and the local authorities (“communes”);
timely detect and point out new problems which could arise between Belgium as host country and the international organisations and formulate solutions;
develop new initiatives in the framework of the host nation policy and present them to the political authorities;
take action as helpdesk in case security problems are encountered by international organisations and their staff.
The Chair of this committee is an ambassador, appointed by royal decree, established after deliberation by the council of Ministers, and:
is in charge of all aspects of hospitality towards the international organisations in Belgium, including the practical implementation of the host nation policy;
coordinates the implementation of the host nation policy with all Ministries and public services on the request of the Prime Minister or the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has authority to request these Ministries and public services to study particular issues and to provide advice;
acts, after the necessary coordination and the agreement of the concerned authorities, as representative of all authorities in Belgium for host nation policy matters of “mixed” nature, i.e. concerning different political levels;
acts as representative of Belgium in contacts and negotiations with international organisations in all host nation policy-related matters;
negotiates the seat agreements on behalf of Belgium;
reports directly to the Prime Minister, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and, if necessary, to other Ministers with host nation policy competences.
*Text by FPS Foreign Affairs
2. The Host Region Policy of the Brussels-Capital Region
The host region policy can be defined as a hospitality policy for supranational and intergovernmental organisations having their headquarters or representation in the Brussels-Capital Region, including diplomatic missions and regional and local representations. The Commissioner for Europe and International Organisations is appointed and mandated by the Regional Government to conduct this hosting task. He represents the Government and coordinates this policy under its authority. The Commissioner operates exclusively within the broader context of the regional competences, with the harmonious development of the Region and the interests of its citizens as priorities. The mandate conferred on the Commissioner and his team comprises five specific missions:
PERPETUATE THE STRUCTURAL RELATIONS between the Brussels (regional and local) authorities and the European institutions, international organisations and diplomatic missions located in Brussels.
SHAPE A HOST REGION POLICY under regional competences and in harmony with the development of the Region and the interests of its citizens.
MAKE POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS to the Brussels Regional Government on all projects that might have an impact both on international organisations and on the Brussels urban landscape.
ACT AS SINGLE CONTACT POINT for all European institutions and international organisations through the institutional liaison desk.
WELCOME THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY through the customised administrative support offered by its Expat Welcome Desk.