New Pact for Europe - National Report - BELGIUM

9 May 2017

This is the first in a series of National Reports to be published as part of the new phase of the New Pact for Europe project.* As a founding member state that sits at the crossroads of European cultures, Belgium has persistently advocated European cohesion and sought to act as a bridge-builder within the EU. This position is increasingly under pressure, while the successive crises the Union has faced in recent years have accumulated into a strategic shock for the central component of Belgium’s foreign policy. Drawing on the discussions held amongst the members of the NPE Belgian Reflection Group, the present report presents a set of conclusions on how Belgium sees the future of the European project and on how present challenges might be overcome:

  • Above all, this will require restoring a sense of confidence that member states can and will live up to their commitments, particularly in the areas of economic governance, migration and security.
  • Belgium is keen to team up with the Netherlands and Luxembourg and ready to consider options for increasing differentiation in the European architecture through a multi-speed arrangement. Whilst not ideal, this is an emergency solution to prevent Europe from breaking up completely.
  • The EMU cannot remain limited to economic matters. In a world that is becoming more dangerous, German economic strength needs to be reinforced with French military experience and political confidence.
  • Belgium first needs to puts its own house in order if is to remain a credible partner to the EU.

*After a first successful period in 2013-2015, which included more than 80 events in 17 EU countries and the publication of two major reports, which elaborated five strategic options on the future of the EU, the New Pact for Europe project entered a new phase in 2016-2017. The ultimate aim of this new phase of the NPE project is to work out the details of a wider ‘package deal’ to equip the EU with the tools it needs to meet the internal and external challenges it faces. This proposal will contain solutions generated by connecting the discussions on the key policy challenges, and propose changes in the way the EU and its policies are defined to avoid future fundamental crises.

National Reflection Groups have been created and met specifically for this purpose in ten EU countries (Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia), followed by transnational exchanges between these groups. This national report is the result of the work and discussions of one of these National Reflection Groups.

For more information on the NPE project, please see the project website:

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