Government of Flanders and Scottish Government: memorandum of understanding

Memorandum of understanding between the Scottish Government and the Flemish Government in relation to strengthening cooperation in the areas of economy, trade and transport, education and research, culture, sports, and tourism, environment, climate and rural affairs and care.

The Government of Flanders and the Scottish Government 

both hereafter referred to as “the Participants”;

With a view to further strengthening and developing their mutual relations, building on their common cultural heritage and historical links;

On the basis of the friendship links and the cooperation already existing between them;

With the desire to make a contribution to the strengthening of bilateral cooperation and dialogue between the Government of Flanders and the Scottish Government, with a view to reciprocal and long-term development for the benefit of our respective citizens.

Have come to the following understanding: 


This Memorandum of Understanding aims to establish the basis for a cooperative relationship to encourage bilateral cooperation between the Participants. It describes the areas of cooperation and the modalities of organisation in order to achieve this objective. 

Areas of cooperation 

The Participants will encourage cooperation in the following fields:

  1. General Policies and Governance: Maintain and deepen institutional relations between Flanders and Scotland and pursue joint thinking and exchanges in relation to general governance, European and external relations, local government, justice, finance.
  2. Economy, Trade and Transport: Strengthen economic relations between Flanders and Scotland by promoting a better understanding of the respective economic environments and the implementation of initiatives in relation to work, trade and investment, mobility, and public works.
  3. Education and Research: Support institutional and professional collaboration in the field of education and training, as well as in the fields of science, innovation and digitisation, joint research collaboration and the common pursuit of talent and skills.
  4. Culture, Sports, and Tourism: Strengthen and expand the already close relations between Flanders and Scotland regarding heritage, culture and the arts, with a particular focus on traditional and contemporary music, literature, performing arts, as well as sports, and tourism, through the implementation of initiatives between Flemish and Scottish actors. We aim to encourage youth learning mobility and youth work-driven collaboration between Flanders and Scotland and aspire to strengthen our collaboration in knowledge and expertise exchange on cultural strategies and policies.
  5. Environment, Climate and Rural Affairs: Reinforce exchanges, the promotion of common interests and support the development of activities related to renewable energies, particularly in the development of marine renewable energies and hydrogen. Development of our bilateral engagement regarding climate change, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), nature and biodiversity, building upon the Edinburgh Declaration. Support institutional and professional knowledge exchange collaboration in maritime issues, particularly fisheries.
  6. Care: Encourage and support intergovernmental dialogue and information exchange to inform better decision making across the Participants’ health and social care systems. Facilitate the exchange of best practice in areas of mutual importance such as reducing health inequalities, decarbonising our systems, and supporting communities to develop their own approaches to local population health challenges.

Both Participants will strive to involve their respective interested stakeholders in the implementation of their initiatives.

The Participants can decide upon a joint cooperation programme focusing on actions for a limited number of years.

Meeting arrangements 

The Participants jointly decide to organise a high-level ministerial meeting every five years. 

The Participants jointly decide to organise a biennial meeting between civil servants and – if deemed appropriate – other relevant stakeholders to discuss the progress of the bilateral cooperation. 

In addition, the Participants can set up additional meetings by mutual agreement whenever deemed appropriate and are encouraged to maintain their relationship on multiple levels.

Memorandum arrangements 

  1. This Memorandum of Understanding does not bind either Participant to any financial arrangements other than those separately accepted in writing.
  2. This Memorandum of Understanding does not create any rights or obligations under international law, or under the relevant domestic law of either Participant; it is a statement of working intent and is not intended to be legally binding. Nothing in this Memorandum of Understanding affects the legal obligations and/or rights of either Participant.  
  3. This Memorandum of Understanding will come into effect upon signature.
  4. This Memorandum of Understanding may be terminated by either Participant, giving one month’s written notice to the other Participant.
  5. Any dispute between the Participants related to the interpretation and implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding will be resolved amicably by means of consultation and negotiation between the Participants and will not be referred to any national or international tribunal or third party for settlement.  The Memorandum of Understanding is not intended to be legally binding and is binding in honour only.
  6. This Memorandum of Understanding may be amended and supplemented at any time with the mutual written agreement of both Participants.

It is agreed that the agreement will be reviewed after a period of five years from the date of execution.

The foregoing record represents the understandings reached between the Government of Flanders and the Scottish Government on matters referred to therein.

Signed in duplicate in Brussels, on 27 June 2023, in the Dutch and English languages, with each text having equal validity.

For the Government of Flanders                 

Jan Jambon                        
Minister President                         

For the Scottish Government

Humza Yousaf
First Minister

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