On June 22, Minister-President Jan Jambon met the six ambassadors and two chargés d'affaires of the SICA group. SICA is the Central American Integration System, which is formed by Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
SICA aims to make Central America a "region of peace, freedom, democracy and development" where the foundation is the protection, respect and promotion of human rights.
SICA's main areas of activity, where coordination is required, include democratic security, institution building, social and economic integration and integrated risk management and climate change monitoring.
The SICA countries are seeking rapprochement with Flanders because they believe they can learn from Flanders in these fields of activity. The 2012 EU-Central America agreement may also provide a number of resources. Flanders and SICA will investigate this together. The question was also raised whether the Minister-President could raise the issue of the ratification of the EU-Central America agreement with his French-speaking counterparts.
Flanders is prepared to offer expertise and know-how for important priorities such as social dialogue, digitization and everything to do with the oceans and seas.
Flanders also wants to significantly intensify the existing trade relations with the SICA group. Trade between Flanders and the SICA countries currently amounts to €395 million for export and €905 million for import. In its contacts with a region of 60 million inhabitants, Flanders can still make a lot of gains in this area.
Both parties agreed to collect and exchange information as soon as possible in order to start the concrete work.