The idea for Benelux came from a football match

08/01/2021

It was during the Second World War that the governments of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, in exile in London, took the initiative and the very first steps towards European integration by signing a customs union agreement.

 

For the record, the idea of Benelux was born on the bench of a football match between Belgium and the Netherlands in London on 17 January 1944.

A few months later, Benelux, an acronym for the names of the three countries - Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg - came into being on 5 September 1944, when the governments of the three countries (still in exile in London) signed a customs agreement that entered into force on 1 January 1948. Benelux was an example and a laboratory; it created a tariff community between the three countries and provided for the subsequent creation of an economic union that promoted economies of scale. A series of agreements led to the Benelux Economic Union, established on 3 February 1958 in The Hague.

Larger scale projects such as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community, the forerunner of today's European Union, subsequently took over economically. As a result, the economic predominance of Benelux gave way to more political cooperation and more varied issues.

The cooperation was renewed on 17 June 2008 and is now called the Benelux Union. Today, it focuses mainly on three key themes: the internal market and the economy; security and society; and sustainable and digital cooperation.