Benelux Cooperation

September 3, 1969

Report Outline
Example of the three Benelux States
Historical Evolution of Benelux Union
Obstacles to Greater Cooperation

Example of the three Benelux States

Benelux as a Laboratory for Common market

The economic union of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands has been called a laboratory for the European Common Market, which embraces France, Italy and West Germany as well as the Benelux countries. At a conference of the heads of government of the Benelux states at The Hague, April 28–29, 1969, it was decided that all frontier controls between the three nations should be abolished by Nov. 1, 1970. Furthermore, the ministers agreed that the social and economic policies of their respective countries should be coordinated, that the tariff-free status of trade between them should be continued, and that there should no longer be any controls over the exchange of agricultural commodities.

To other nations of Western Europe, Benelux represents something more than convenient shorthand for a geographical area. It symbolizes the road toward unity. As forerunners and fountainhead of the European Economic Community (Common Market), the members of the Benelux Economic Union have been systematically following a plan of voluntary integration and rational cooperation. Article 233 of the Treaty of Rome, which established the E.E.C., specifically stated that. “The provisions of the present treaty shall not be an obstacle to the existence or completion of regional unions between Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.”

This regional union now has progressed to the point where the development of energy resources, roads, ports, air travel, and tourism are to be coordinated in common. And competitive conditions in industry and commerce, as well as price and wage policies, are subjects on which all three states consult together. The momentum of Benelux cooperation has carried over to the Common Market. The Benelux countries have consistently urged that Britain, Denmark, Ireland and Norway be invited to join the E.E.C. The day when they, and possibly other nations, will become Common Market members appears closer now that Gen. de Gaulle has stepped down as President of France.

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