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Subject History

Place Low Countries » Belgium

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


A customs union of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Its name comes from the first syllables of the names of the member states. Their governments-in-exile had agreed in London in 1944 to form a customs union, which was set up in 1948. It provided a free market of goods, services, capital and labour between the three states and was a model for the wider integration of Western Europe, which came with the treaty of rome and formation of the EEC (European Economic Community) in 1957. Benelux was then largely absorbed in the bigger community, though it continued to exist. It aimed at common social services, monetary union and a single currency. These were not achieved but Benelux did abolish internal customs barriers and established a common tariff for imports before the EEC. It also pioneered a passport-free area, which was extended to France and West Germany in June 1985 by the Schengen Agreement. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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