The Low Countries: Growing Apart. Belgium and the Netherlands and Their Attitudes to the European Union

(Marie-Annick Musch & Hendrik Vos) THE LOW COUNTRIES - 2016, № 24, PP. 218-225

The creation of the Benelux made Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg the very cradle of European integration. In subsequent European cooperation initiatives, during the fifties and sixties, Belgium and the Netherlands were always involved - and usually they were in the front row. Although that did not mean that their interests always coincided or that they agreed on everything, Belgium and the Netherlands, often with Luxembourg, tried for a long time to act together and with one voice on European issues. Since the early nineties, however, tensions have been increasingly visible in specific dossiers and recently, in particular, it has barely been possible for them to take joint action. Public opinion and especially the attitude of the political elites in Belgium and the Netherlands have begun to differ starkly.

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