The Chairman of the Benelux Business Roundtable (BBR) was invited by Prime Minister Mark Rutte to attend the Benelux Summit Dinner in The Hague on 8 November 2017 in honour of the presence of Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel and the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xaxier Bettel.
Amongst the other dinner attendants were the bilateral ambassadors, the new Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, the new Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Chairman and vice-chairman of the Benelux Parliament, Secretary General of the Benelux Union and the two deputy Secretary-Generals, representatives of various knowledge centres/universities and specialists from companies active in alternative energy production.
During the dinner, the main topic of discussion was the potential for the Benelux to make the transition towards hydrogen gas as a primary source of energy using existing infrastructure presently used for the transportation of gas. The case was presented and commented by various experts.
At the end of the dinner, Prime Minister Rutte introduced the BBR as one of the prime motors of the new dynamics of the Benelux revival. The Prime Minister asked the Chairman of the BBR, to make the concluding remarks.
Eric ter Hark used the opportunity to congratulate the three Prime Ministers for the new dynamics they have instilled in the Benelux project. It has allowed for renewed collaboration and inspired new initiatives on many fronts, such as the development and use of alternative sources of energy, which are critical for the competitive position of the Benelux region.
Eric ter Hark stressed the importance of continued support from the highest political levels to produce results for the Benelux region that align with its relative position within the EU and its potential as one of the world’s most prosperous, dynamic and ambitious regions.
As concrete action points he further mentioned:
- the importance to execute the October 3rd, 2016 joint statement of the three Prime Ministers, on a Digital Benelux
- the creation of a Benelux digital data platform where public and private data can be accessed by all users of available transport modes
- the implementation of the Declaration of Amsterdam of February 2016 on automated and connected cars to make sure that Europe is ready to accept automated driving on its roads as of 2019. The Benelux is not yet ready!
Please find the Joint Declaration of 8 November here.