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Minister-President Jan Jambon continues his 'Northern tour’ with two-day visit to Sweden

Gothenburg - 18 October 2021 - One month after his trip to Copenhagen and shortly after his working visit to Munich, Minister-President of Flanders Jan Jambon is further reinforcing the Government of Flanders’ 'Strategy for the North' with a mission to Sweden on 18 and 19 October.

It is no coincidence that this foreign visit by Minister-President Jambon, which is part of a first series of trips since the corona crisis, takes him once again to the North. Just like with the Netherlands, the three Baltic States, Ireland and Germany, the Government of Flanders wants to establish even more sustainable and stronger collaboration with the four Nordic countries, including Sweden, among other things in the areas of trade and innovation. As the 10th export destination of Flanders and the 9th country of origin of foreign investments in Flanders, Sweden is a major economic partner.

On Monday, Minister-President Jan Jambon, accompanied by Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), and Julie Bynens, Secretary-General of Flanders Chancellery and Foreign Office, will visit Gothenburg-based companies SKF, Astra Zeneca’s R&D department, and Volvo (Volvo Cars experience centre & Volvo Group (Trucks)). These successful companies have a long-standing connection with Flanders as innovative investors and major employers. Thousands of people in Flanders earn their living as employees in one of these companies.

In the presence of Daan Schalck, CEO of North Sea Port, the Minister-President will visit the Port of Gothenburg. This is Scandinavia's largest port and an important lifeline for Swedish companies in Flanders, not least the Volvo factories in the Port of Ghent.

With a dedicated FIT team in Stockholm, Flanders is strongly committed to its relationship with Sweden. The team was recently strengthened by the appointment of both Dries Willems as Diplomatic Representative of Flanders, and Maarten Lambert, FIT's new Science & Technology Counselor. Both are based in Copenhagen but are responsible for contacts with the entire Nordics. Minister-President Jan Jambon: "Our region is looking to Sweden as a crucial partner for innovation and valorisation. Sweden has strong ecosystems of businesses, clusters and R&D centres working, inter alia, around life sciences, digital tech and Industry 5.0. The ambition is to further strengthen cooperation with companies and clusters in Flanders." It is exactly with this aim in mind that FIT’s CEO Claire Tillekaerts will be signing an ambitious cooperation agreement with the Business Region Gothenburg during this mission.

The following day, on Tuesday 19 October, the Minister-President will visit Atlas Copco HQ in Stockholm. In April this year, this world-renowned company was awarded the FIT Lifetime Achievement Trophy by the Minister-President of Flanders in recognition of 65 years of sustainable and smart investment in Flanders.

A political meeting between Minister-President Jambon and the Swedish State Secretary for Business, Industry and Innovation, Emil Högberg, will also take place that day. Within the framework of its Strategy for the North, Flanders is building alliances to weigh more heavily on the European Union's decision-making on matters of common interest.

The Minister-President will conclude his mission to Sweden with a meeting with the representatives of "Vlamingen in de wereld" in Stockholm and a visit to the impressive Vasa Museum.

25 October 2021