Benelux Union

This page gives an overview of the Benelux cooperation, objectives, its advantages and priorities

The pioneering role of the Benelux

The Benelux Union, founded in 1944, is a treaty-based intergovernmental organisation of Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg. The three pioneering member states foreshadowed the model for the European Union. The politico-economic union initially focused on custom barriers and ensuring free movement of persons, goods and services. Nowadays, the Benelux covers a wider range of topics, including sustainable development, security, energy, transport, etc. working towards its objectives to enhance cross-border cooperation and function as a living lab for Europe.

The Benelux can resort to four (legal) instruments:

  1. Decisions
  2. Agreements
  3. Recommendations
  4. Directives


Why climate cooperation within the Benelux:

apple-touch-icon.png The Benelux region shares its 'DNA'

apple-touch-icon.png Effects of climate change do not stop at the border

apple-touch-icon.png Combining forces makes for stronger action

apple-touch-icon.png Political assignment via the Benelux Talanoa Declaration of 2018


Three major advantages of Benelux climate collaboration


 Shared transboundary problems require solutions on a regional scale.

Capacity building

With environmental problems, size does matter, and regional cooperation helps to build the capacity to tackle those problems.

Regional expertise

On a regional scale, expertise can be brought together to gain more knowledge about regional problems and solutions to further the implementation of global conventions.

Why go regional?

Global conventions require regions to implement policies to build a sustainable future. Every region has different needs to meet its obligations. Collaboration on a regional scale is complementary to the global scale and can give an important contribution to the coordination of resources, sharing of knowledge and building of capacity.


On a regional scale, fewer states are involved in coming to an agreement. On top of that, a common culture, shared interests and geographical proximity increase the likelihood of a successful and far-reaching environmental agreement or partnership. This means that it is more practical to agree on common environmental problems.


Commitment to a regional agreement is higher than to global agreements, simply because the regional problems are visible. The dangers of climate change and the involvement of regional stakeholders give people a sense of urgency to act now. It gives people the feeling of ownership which increases motivation even more.

Top climate priorities


pictos_01.pngPromoting sustainable mobility

pictos-07.pngActing against climate change

pictos-08.pngSupporting the energy transition


Read the full annual plan here (available in Dutch and French).

Benelux instrumentarium

The Benelux cooperation can be formalised in legally (binding) and political agreements.

Click here for more information on the available Benelux legal and political instruments