Belgium takes over the Benelux presidency for a year

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In January 2024, Belgium takes over the presidency of the Benelux Union's Committee of Ministers for a year. The key priorities of this presidency were presented at a ceremony in Brussels on 23 January.

Cooperation between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg began in 1944 as a customs union and became the Benelux Economic Union in 1958. A new "Benelux Treaty" was adopted in 2008 to continue and intensify intergovernmental cooperation between our three countries. This cooperation now focuses on three key themes: the internal market and economic union; sustainable development; and justice and home affairs.

In 2024, Belgium will therefore simultaneously hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Presidency of the Benelux Union during the first half of the year. The role of the Benelux as a laboratory for the European Union has been demonstrated on several occasions in the past, and the Belgian Presidency will be attentive to the possibilities for strengthening interaction between the Benelux countries and the European Union, at both legislative and non-legislative levels.

The priorities of the Belgian Presidency of the Benelux are in line with this guiding principle and are set out in the 2024 annual work plan and the 2021-2024 multi-annual programme of the Benelux Union.

In order to strengthen the internal market, the Belgian Presidency wishes to pay particular attention to small and medium-sized enterprises and to the digital economy. In terms of sustainable development, initiatives will be taken in the areas of energy transition, the circular economy, adaptation to climate change and resilience. Finally, in terms of security, priorities will focus on the fight against organised crime, the cross-border implementation of sanctions and the strengthening of cooperation between crisis centres.

The aim remains, more than ever, to achieve concrete results for all Benelux citizens and businesses. It is also in this spirit that the Belgian Presidency will do its utmost to draw up the 2025-2028 multi-annual plan for the Benelux Union and will ensure that it is aligned with the next strategic agenda of the European Union.

 

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