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Our goals: Strategic Plan 2021-2024
The 2021-2024 Strategic Plan regarding the operation of FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation was signed on 14 September by Minister Hadja Lahbib, -on behalf of the government-, and Ms Theodora Gentzis, Chairperson a.i. of the Management Committee, -on behalf of FPS Foreign Affairs. This plan, which covers the entire legislature, replaces the former Management Agreement.
The plan explains the FPS's long-term strategy and the objectives it sets to achieve it. The starting point is, on the one hand, the missions and tasks legally entrusted to the FPS and, on the other, the political policy priorities as determined by the government and the Ministers in charge.
The priorities are the international defence of the interests of our country and its citizens, as also reflected in the National Security Strategy, and an active contribution to a just, safe and sustainable world. The FPS strives for expert policy support and high-quality services, with an efficient, effective and sustainable organisation geared to that end, guaranteeing a pleasant, safe and motivating working environment.
In addition to the objectives to be achieved, the plan also deals with the vision and values we apply to this, and analyses the broader national and international context in which we fulfil our mission. It also looks at our target audience and partners, and what resources are available to fulfil the ambitions.
In addition to its own objectives, the FPS Foreign Affairs will also endeavour - within the scope of its competences and taking into account the budgetary framework - to cooperate transversally in drawing up and implementing federal action plans.
Following the Strategic Plan, an Operational Plan will be drawn up each year, which will have to give it concrete implementation. The first such plan will come into force on 1 January 2023.
You can consult the plan below in Dutch and French.
The purpose of this document is to set out the commitments of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation to users with a view to increasing accessibility and improving "customer service". It is in line with the "Charter for customer-friendly government", which can be found at the website of BOSA.
Our commitments to our users
Numerous users and bodies can call upon the services and powers of the Federal Public Service: citizens, companies, Belgian and foreign political and administrative authorities, embassies, foreign missions and consulates, partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation, non-governmental organisations, academic circles, etc.
The staff of the Federal Public Service (FPS) is at your disposal in the Central Administration in Brussels and in the approximately 140 embassies, consulates, and permanent representations worldwide.
In order to offer our users efficient, punctual and quality activities and services, we commit ourselves in Belgium and abroad:
- to be an accessible and customer-friendly administration;
- to handle enquiries and requests quickly and professionally;
- to act quickly and professionally when serious difficulties arise abroad;
- to organise regular contacts with our dialogue partners;
- to evaluate and improve continuously the quality of our services;
- to handle incoming complaints correctly.
1. An accessible and customer-friendly administration
We make every effort to provide users with a warm and professional welcome in their language.
You can contact us by phone
You can reach the FPS by phone at the standard number (02/501.81.11).
The switchboard operators will provide you with the information you need immediately or connect you with the appropriate official or department.
In the event of any absence, calls will be redirected to the phone of an employee who is present, an answering machine or the switchboard.
You can get consular information at the number 02/501.32.00 from Monday to Friday during office hours.
Outside of office hours, there is an on-call service for very urgent cases or to provide emergency assistance.
You can contact us by email
In order to ensure a smooth processing of your question, please use the standard form.
Belgian embassies, consulates and permanent representations
Details of embassies, consulates and permanent representations can be found on our website under the heading "Embassies and Consulates".
There you will also find a hyperlink to the internet site for all the posts, with the opening hours and the services offered by each post.
2. Prompt and professional handling of your enquiries and requests
Our website is updated regularly. You will find a lot of information about our activities here. If you still cannot find the answer to your question, please feel free to contact us.
We are committed to handling your questions and requests as quickly as possible.
A request for general information sent to us by email will be answered within fifteen calendar days after receipt of your email. A request for general information sent to us by ordinary mail will be answered within thirty calendar days after receipt of the letter.
If the enquiry concerns a complex matter or one for which regulatory procedures must be observed, and if the enquiry cannot be answered within the period specified above, you will receive a provisional answer within fifteen calendar days after receipt of the enquiry, stating the time limit for processing.
If your enquiry does not fall within the competence of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, we will forward it to the competent public service and inform you of this within fifteen calendar days after receipt of the enquiry.
Enquiries sent by letter will be answered by letter and those sent by email will be answered by email, unless the data is of such a nature that it is not suitable for email communication. Registered mail will only be used when absolutely necessary or in the cases provided for by law.
Each communication will include the name, capacity, telephone number and email address of the handling official and the reference number of the file. When you contact our department later, it is advisable to mention the reference number of the file so that the enquiry can be immediately forwarded to the officer in charge.
Payment for any legalisation requests to the Central Administration should be carried out electronically at the counter. A deposit can also be made (for further explanation, please contact our counter). Visas are for the holders of special passports and are therefore free. Passports can only be paid for in cash.
In the posts, consular products are paid for in cash, electronically or by bank transfer.
3. Prompt and professional intervention in the event of serious difficulties abroad
If you encounter serious difficulties when abroad and do not know where to turn, you can contact our local representation. The latter will provide you with assistance, to the extent possible, in the form of:
- the issue of a (provisional) identification document in the event of the loss or theft of your identity card or passport,
- steps to facilitate contact (on the ground or with the family), assistance in the search for missing persons and (humanitarian) aid in case of arrest and detention.
In the "Travelling Abroad" section of our website, you will find more information about those circumstances under which you can call on the Belgian Embassy or Consulate.
If you reside in a country where Belgium has no representation, you may apply to the representation of another member state of the European Union.
If the security of a critical number of Belgian nationals abroad is threatened and the resources of the local authorities and the Belgian diplomatic mission are insufficient, the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation may decide to open its crisis centre to coordinate possible actions and answer any questions received from the public. The call centre phone number will then be listed on our website and also announced through the media.
4. Organising regular contacts with our dialogue partners
In order to ensure the consistency of Belgian policy abroad and fine-tune our actions on the ground, we organise regular contacts with the representatives of our dialogue partners.
On consular matters, consultations are often held with the municipalities, the federal ombudsmen, the UEFB (Union francophones des Belges à l'étranger), the VIW (Flemings in the World), the European institutions and the Belgian departments of Justice and Home Affairs.
With regard to bilateral relations, round-table discussions are regularly organised with representatives of the business community, academic circles and government agencies. In this way, they can also contribute to the formulation of Belgian policy in a particular country or region. With the creation of a Business Council, the Federal Public Service intends to hold regular consultations with regard to the strategic challenges that are the same for the federal and regional governments and for companies.
Coordination mechanisms have been developed within the Directorate-General for European Affairs and the Directorate-General for Multilateral Affairs. These mechanisms make it possible to automatically involve all the federal public services, the Communities and the Regions in dossiers which (also) fall within their competence. Accordingly, the exchange of information is almost constant, enabling a coherent Belgian position that can be formulated in the many forums and international institutions in which our country is represented. Following these coordination mechanisms, consultations are held with civil society representatives with regard to specific topics.
The Directorate General of Legal Affairs organises coordination meetings with all federal government departments and with the federated entities. These consultations are organised within the framework of monitoring the progress of the dossiers related to implementation, so that we would comply with our European commitments in the best way possible, and with the role which our department plays with respect to the European Court of Justice.
Our Regions and Communities Interface is responsible for consultation, coordination and practical cooperation with the Communities and Regions, particularly regarding our activities abroad.
In the field of development cooperation, we pay close attention to consultations with partner countries, international institutions and non-governmental development actors. As the implementing agency of bilateral direct development cooperation, Enabel, is also closely involved in these consultations. Through political dialogue, Belgium participates in the global poverty reduction strategy.
In order to give a voice to those for whom the funded actions are intended, the Directorate General for Development Cooperation considers it to be of the utmost importance that a participatory project approach be adopted. This applies both to the preparation and to the implementation and evaluation of Development Cooperation actions.
5. Continuously improving the quality of our services
In order to better meet the expectations of our users, we employ tools to evaluate and improve the quality of our services (satisfaction surveys, board tables, correspondence registration system, Development Cooperation evaluations, etc.).
These tools allow us to pinpoint quickly those areas requiring improvement and to make ongoing adjustments.
In order to ensure the best quality of our services, we also use other tools such as:
- human resources management using well-considered recruitment policies, competency development and staff evaluation;
- knowledge management by encouraging the sharing of information and knowledge;
- project management to adjust existing activities or create new services;
- raising awareness among our staff members with regard to our mission of serving the public.
6. Handling your complaints correctly
If you are not satisfied with the quality of one of our services or with the reception on the phone or in our offices, you can contact us with your complaint. You can send them by correspondence, fax or mail via our website. The complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate department and will be dealt with within the time limits stated above.
Investigating your complaints also helps us to improve the quality of our services.