Some communities, regions and federated states, including Québec, Flanders, Wallonia, Catalonia and Scotland, are engaged in international endeavours in parallel to the diplomacy carried out by their national states. This topic was the focal point of an international colloquium entitled “Towards a ‘third wave’ in sub-state diplomacy?” held on January 19 in Brussels at the initiative of the Flemish Centre for International Policy, the European Union Committee of the Regions and the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael.
Two experts from Québec were among the speakers. Éric Théroux, Director General of Multilateral Affairs and International Commitments at the Ministère des Relations internationales demonstrated how Québec’s International Policy frames and motivates its strategic choices. Stéphane Paquin, Professor at the University of Sherbrooke, discussed the international initiatives of regions and cities, predicting they will result in a “fourth wave.”
Québec Government Representative Christos Sirros gave the closing speech and applauded the event, which provided inspiring presentations and thought-provoking discussions of exceptional quality. Citing plans for an economic partnership between Canada and the European Union as an example, he showed how Québec’s initiatives are complementary to Canadian diplomacy and can be advantageous for the central state. He also discussed the growing interest of sub-state governments in multilateral issues that directly concern them. The concerted action of U.S. states and Canadian provinces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is an excellent example of this.
The day of reflection ended on a musical note with a mini-recital by Soprano Guylaine Girard and pianist Marie-Claude Roy, two Quebecers with international careers. The performance concluded with a rendition of Félix Leclerc’s Hymne au printemps…