High Tensions In the Low Countries

Belgium and the Netherlands, two founding members of the European Union, are increasingly divided about what that project now means. The EU’s Reform Treaty is now the focus of that dispute, but its roots go deeper.

Belgium and the Netherlands, two founding members of the European Union, are increasingly divided about what that project now means. The EU’s Reform Treaty is now the focus of that dispute, but its roots go deeper. At one point, according to press reports, the row became so serious that French President Nicolas Sarkozy had to intervene.

Europe cannot afford a dogfight between these two founding member states, so it’s high time to put emotions aside and review their differences on the future course of European integration. As a former Dutch State Secretary for European Affairs and Benelux Coordinator, I believe that the Netherlands and Belgium can once again play complementary roles.

From the very beginning, these countries have represented the different aspects of Europe’s identity: Belgium, as an industrial country, continentally oriented, bilingual, and an intermediary with southern Europe, and the Netherlands with its strong agricultural and trading tradition and its Anglo-Saxon and Atlantic orientation.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/2K4gyf8;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.