A Political Economy Approach
Edited by Jehoon Park, T. J. Pempel and Heungchong Kim
Chapter 8: The Role of the Benelux in the European Integration Process: Implications for East Asia
Amy Verdun WHAT IS THE BENELUX? The Benelux initiative was a three-country initiative that offered a first attempt at regional integration in the realm of economic affairs in the immediate post-Second World War period. It also offered a good opportunity of early collaboration to see what kinds of problems may occur when countries seek to integrate economic policies more closely. The Benelux played an important role in the European integration process. This chapter addresses this issue. It examines what the Benelux was all about and how it contributed to European integration. The structure of the chapter is as follows. Below is an overview of what the Benelux is. The next section reviews to what factors the creation of the Benelux was a response. The subsequent section discusses the contribution of the Benelux to European integration. The role of individual Benelux countries in European integration is discussed in the following section. The penultimate section discusses lessons for Asia. The final section concludes. Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are the three countries that together form the Benelux. It was founded on 5 September 1944. The aim was to set up a customs union as soon as the war was over. The creation of the Benelux was a reaction to the economic conditions before and during the Second World War. Before the war had started, various West European countries had already participated in economic collaboration. For example in 1932 the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands and Belgium together formed the so-called ‘Oslo Convention’ that...
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