The end of the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 31 December 2015 was for Luxembourg the start of another one: the one of the committee of ministers of the Benelux Union. During the whole year 2016, the Grand-Duchy will fulfill that role, this for the second time since the entry into force of the new Benelux treaty in 2012.
The official launch of the Luxembourg Presidency of the committee of ministers will take place on 22 February 2016 in the Neumünster Abbey in Luxembourg. On this occasion, the priorities of the Presidency of the Grand-Duchy, as well as the Benelux plan of work 2016 will be presented.
In this way, Luxembourg will put its experience, gained during its 12th Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the service of the Benelux and will endeavour, in close cooperation with the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the EU during the first semester of 2016, to fully assume the pioneer role of the Benelux in the European Union.
The annual plan 2016 elaborates the concrete actions that the three countries wish to undertake in the coming months. The priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Benelux committee of ministers are part of the implementation of this plan of work. These priorities are not isolated actions, but are part of the operating logic of the Benelux Union, which aims - through concrete actions and an exemplary cross-border collaboration - to support the European integration.
The Benelux, a model for the European cooperation
Founded in 1947, the Benelux is a union between the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The aim is to take-up the several challenges in the economic, security and the sustainable developments sectors.
In view of the expiry of the Treaty of 1958 in 2010, a new treaty amending the treaty of 1958 was signed on 17 June 2008. It entered into effect on 3 February 2012. Since then, the Benelux cooperation has been focusing on three main topics:
Benelux has often served as a model for reinforcing European ties. Indeed, some areas of cooperation have been so successful that their application has been extended to the European level. This applies in particular to the free movement of persons (Schengen Agreements), the internal market (Economic Union) or police cooperation.
(article written by the editorial team of the portal luxembourg.lu; source: press release by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs)