Vleva has four key tasks which can be translated into four roles:
- promoter of interests
- builder of networks
- broker of knowledge
- project supervisor.
Promoter of interests
Under promotion of interests, we essentially understand the stimulation and preparation of an active participation by Flanders in EU policy processes. The agency must develop into an authority regarding impact on the European decision-making process, as a complement to the tasks and initiatives of the Flemish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the Representation of Flanders in the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the EU.
The agency must be capable of recognising, as early as possible, initiatives which are in the European pipeline. In this way, intervention can take place at an early stage and problems can be identified to the European policy makers. In this, the agency can function by taking the initiative itself or by offering support to the members of the agency. The content of the promotion of interests, however, always takes place with the actor that has the interest in question within the Flemish social fabric.
- fulfilling a signalling function by observing relevant developments in the starting phase of the European decision-making process and drawing the attention of Flemish actors to new initiatives by the European Commission;
- informing the Flemish civil society and the Flemish authorties (regional and local) about European policy and legislation;
- disseminating and explaining Flemish viewpoints with regard to European policy;
- functioning as a link in order to inform the Flemish Representation and the Flemish Government about the current topics among Flemish civil society (socio-economic, socio-cultural and scientific sectors) regarding European dossiers.
Builder of networks
Along with knowledge, networking is a foundation stone in the working of the agency. The building of networks occurs at both a Flemish and a European level, insofar as it is relevant to EU-related matters.
Acting as an interface between Flanders and Europe and taking an active role in the field of partner search are part and parcel of this key task of the agency. Related to the network function, the agency also has an important promotion or PR function, also regarding providing insight into the European policy processes.
- expanding relations with other federal states, member states and regional offices and the establishment of contacts with European institutions;
- searching for partners for participation in European projects and programmes; organising a representative Flanders meeting platform in Brussels;
- increasing the visibility of Flanders in Europe, among other things by promoting Flemish tourist attractions;
- developing a European network and the strengthening of inter-regional cooperation by means of events, exhibitions, presentations of books and the organisation of other cultural and promotional events.
Broker of knowledge
The agency collects knowledge via its multidisciplinary nature and shares this with the relevant parties. The agency has an advisory* role. Decisions fall under the authority of the working members and/or the various governing levels in Flanders.
The agency must help to increase the support for Europe and must, via initiatives, give Europe a voice. This will take place best with the help of Flemings who are or who have been active in the European institutions. This benefits the profile of Europe and vleva. The agency must support ctions towards Europe from Flanders. This support could just as well be the development of a strategic plan towards Europe as the making of contacts or the providing of databases.
*Advisory here is not mentioned in terms of content. It refers to the systematic interpreting of the dossiers for the support they gain and where they gain it from on the one hand and the expectation in terms of time perspective on the other.
- providing a point of contact for requests for information on European topics;
- organising suitable courses and internships, conferences, debating evenings, study visits to the European institutions and publishing a newsletter in order to raise awareness among the public at large of the European Union and its operation;
- detection and signalling, in good time, European financing opportunities, projects and programmes and subsidies to which Flemish actors can subscribe;
- disseminating tourist and/or logistics information among other (regional) representations in Brussels.
The agency offers assistance to its members regarding the specifics of dossier preparation, in particular in the area of financing opportunities. The agency works according to the one-stop shop principle, where information is found and support is offered. The role remains a facilitating one unless members request a different role.
The agency thus contributes to a maximum participation by Flanders in new European initiatives and opportunities, among other things in important areas such as scientific research, innovation, environment and regional policy.
- offering subsidy advice and assistance in the submission and monitoring of dossiers so that project participation by Flemish partners is increased;
- offering tangible support by setting up a database which lists European subsidies and registers partnerships and by developing a website with information about potential partners, etc.;
- setting up a system that channels various questions from Flemish actors regarding European programmes and passes them on to existing agencies and bodies that provide further assistance;
- organising information sessions on European financing opportunities and procedural conditions.