The Benelux agreement is considered one of the international agreements that gave rise to the current European Union. However, many people are unaware of what the pact of free trade and movement Benelux. So, in this article, it is explained what this treaty is, its function and history. Similarly, the institutions that are part of the agreement are specified.
Meaning and definition of Benelux
In the history of humanity, alliances between countries are frequently made in search of obtaining benefits from other peoples or mutually. From treaties or war pacts, trade agreements or contracts that help a territory to become a world power in a certain area. One of these agreements was Benelux, which has great historical importance, since it laid the foundations of the organization that is now known as the European Union.
In this sense, Benelux was born within the framework of international treaties as an agreement between three neighboring countries. Its function is to serve as an intergovernmental organization with which these sovereign states reached economic agreements. So, it can be defined as a pact between three European countries in order to trade between them and obtain the best economic benefits.
What does the term Benelux mean?
The word Benelux is a term that was invented from the combination of the name of the three countries that make up the organization. The trio of states included Belgium, the Netherlands or Holland and Luxembourg, it must be remembered that the way in which the Dutch territory is called in English is Netherlands. So, the title of the pact comes from the first letters of the names of the three member countries.
In this way, the three entities begin their relations and international treaties, approving the loan of services between them. Similarly, they gave free rein to the movement of people and goods between the borders of their territories. Therefore, it begins to observe what is known as a border and customs union.
So, in 1958, the agreement establishing an economic friendship began. Which, today, is understood as the origins or first passes for the future creation of the European Union. It is the first great economic pact which materialized in Europe after the culmination of World War II.
How was the Benelux formed?
In 1921, an event occurred that is taken as the background of the Benelux international treaty, since the Economic Union was founded. Belgian-Luxembourgian. In which, any economic obstacle between the two states was eliminated. Then, during World War II, the Netherlands joined the agreement in 1944.
Thus, the three countries reached an agreement to eliminate customs duties between borders. So, any type of tariff was suppressed and freedom of trade, services or goods was granted. It was also dictated that the same price be set in the fees and commissions of the products that were exported from abroad.
In September 1944, the three countries were in exile in London, due to the German occupation. It is there where the first treaty is signed, with the forecast of putting it into operation on January 1, 1948, since a period of three years was given to rebuild each country. The Benelux Customs Union began to work that year and the first months saw economic cooperation, as well as free movement of people.
In March, the three Benelux member countries joined the Western European Union with France and the United Kingdom. During the same year, they also received an invitation from join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), all agreed seeking protection against the Soviet Army. From there, more countries were added, including Germany in 1957, which led to the Warsaw Pact by left-wing states.
The agreement achieved economic growth in each of the three countries, which the other European states were able to observe. That is why both Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium began to enter other organizations. In 1948 an invitation was sent to Brussels for the Benelux to join the European Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECE).
Then, in 1951, they entered the ECSC, the European Coal and Steel Community. Finally, Benelux became part of the EEC, European Economic Community in 1957. Since then, any customs union has been replaced by the Benelux agreement and this was the first step towards the formation of the current European Union.
What countries make up the Benelux?
The Benelux Customs Union is a grouping that has only three countries, which are neighbors. In this organization joined Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands or Holland. Which found their points in common due to the historical problems they went through, such as the different invasions in the world wars.
What institutions make up Benelux?
The Benelux agreement does not only consist of friendship and good relations in the economy of the presidents of the countries involved. On the contrary, they created an intergovernmental organization that relies on various institutions to achieve the proper development of the process.
- The Council of Ministers: It is the institution that takes the decision-making of the Benelux, it must be made up of at least one member from each country. There it is decided based on priorities, the Ministry is presided over by a different country each year.
- Benelux Council: It is made up of high-ranking people related to the ministers. It does not have a legislative character, its function is to present the reports to the ministers in turn.
- Benelux Interparliamentary Consultative Council: Also referred to simply as parliament. is a group of 49 people whose mission is to reinforce and advise the leaders of each member country in matters of economy and customs. The Netherlands and Belgium have 21 representatives each, while Luxembourg has 7 members.
- The General Secretary: It is located in Brussels and represents the administration center of the Benelux. Collaborates in the field of security and economy.
- Court of Justice: It has an international character and its objective is that each member country comply with the legislation that is current From there, fiscal equality, fines, debt recovery, respect for intellectual property and other processes are sought.
In case of any fiscal problem, some of the Benelux institutions can send a report to the court. There, the members discuss them and dictate the sentence that the three countries must abide by. These members may be the magistrates of the Court of Cassation of Brussels and the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden. While, on the part of Luxembourg, they are sent by the Court of Justice of the country.
What is the importance of Benelux?
Benelux had a great importance in the international treaties that were reached after the creation of this agreement. Well, this intergovernmental organization has as its objective the economic benefit of the three member countries. In this sense, one of the first points that must be highlighted is that, thanks to the pact, it was possible to improve the domestic trade. Similarly, from the date the deal was signed, there is a shared economic union and social justice.
In this sense, the three countries share goods and services that circulate across the borders without any kind of problem. There are no fees or commissions due pay at customs for the import and export of products. Likewise, they share the same rate for those products that are purchased in other different territories.
However, despite the fact that the good relationship between the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium is important, the relevance of the agreement is at the level of the continent. Since, the other countries were able to observe that it is possible to carry out the free trade and free movement of people. So, these points are the fundamental basis of the treaties and permits that currently exist in the European Union.