After Germany, France and Italy, the Benelux region is the 4th economic power in the EU-27 with an income per capita among the highest in the world. The Region is part of the top-5 in terms of international trade, has a highly skilled workforce, top universities and research centres, innovative industries and houses many of the European headquarters of the international companies. Through its geographical position and infrastructure, it is the undisputed gateway to Europe. These achievements are the result of an ever increasing international collaboration within the Benelux and the EU since World War II.
The consequences of the financial and economic crisis of 2007/8 have greatly impacted the orientation and pace of international collaboration. Finding consensus at EU-level has become a real challenge, postponing urgently required steps towards perfecting the single market, structural reforms and new initiatives to promote growth and competitiveness. This situation is especially detrimental to smaller countries and the Benelux countries, with their open and export dependent economy, in particular.
The international crises, change in the global balance of power, and Brexit put further pressure to act with ambition and decisively.
At national level the Benelux countries are faced individually with a diminishing influence in Europe, due to enlargement of the EU and an important transfer of power to the EU on many economic issues. Revitalize Benelux collaboration through a common approach on critical cross border issues, based on a common vision for the future of the Benelux region in Europe and the world will greatly enhance the Region’s prospects and contribute to the ever closer union.