On Thursday afternoon in the Hague, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders launched the Netherlands’  presidency of the Benelux Union, the intergovernmental partnership between Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, established in 1944.

The Netherlands has assumed the presidency from Luxembourg, which held the role in 2016. In the year ahead the Netherlands will focus mainly on closer cooperation in relation to security and sustainable economic growth.  

During the Dutch presidency negotiations will begin on revising the 2004 Benelux Treaty on cross-border police intervention (or ‘Treaty of Senningen’) to improve efforts to tackle cross-border crime.

Mr Koenders said, ‘High priority will be given to the administrative approach to tackling organised crime, for instance motorcycle gangs, corruption, money laundering and human trafficking. In relation to security the Benelux countries will also work together to draft common legislation on drones and continue their efforts to enhance operational cooperation between crisis centres in tackling disasters.’

The three countries will also cooperate on the transition to a sustainable economy, for instance by strengthening the infrastructure for alternative fuels.

In addition, efforts will be made to work towards a digital internal market, improve the public’s cross-border mobility and eliminate barriers in the retail sector.

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