According to the Belgian constitution (Art. 127-133), the relevant areas of responsibility of the Communities - and this also includes the inter-Community and international relationships in this regard - are the exclusive competencies of these Communities. Opening up the Community externally is necessary for them not only out of practical considerations, but, over and above this, it is also a central element in the autonomy and identity defined in the constitution.
Above all, it is since the nineties that the Government has recognised the opening up of the GC externally as an important policy area and has also further promoted and encourage this in the last few years. Particularly also under the aspect of a single Europe of regions, it has also reinforced its efforts to accept relationships or to deepen them, to exchange experiences and findings and – last, but not the least, thanks to the European sponsorship programme – to execute projects jointly within the context of their competencies.
On account of its small size, the GC has naturally only limited options in their contribution to and involvement in international organisations and European programmes and initiatives with respect to human and financial resources. Despite this, it is still active at several levels, and in 2002 the ministry set up a service for external relationships to improve coordination of the various activities.
There are no legal provisions that are particularly concerned only with the European dimension of the education and training system of the GC. Nonetheless, the foundational decree of 31st August 1998, in section , Duty of the society to the school authorities and the school personnel reads as follows: article 10: The school educates world openness, promotes the European way of thinking and multilingualism.
As a constitutional part of the Federal State of Belgium, the German-speaking Community has considerable autonomy with respect to the external relationships, and this permits it to conclude international contract agreements in its areas of responsibility. It maintains numerous international contacts with the neighbouring countries, partner regions and international organisation, whereby the education and training system is always accorded central importance.
Mobility and exchange measures need to be met primarily with students and those studying and to a much lesser extent with the teachers and teaching faculty.