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Conscious citizens are actively concerned with their future: climate, health and mobility

The Benelux Union puts its citizens and their wellbeing at the core of everything it does. Climate, health and mobility are topics that are particularly close to our hearts, and in each of these fields, we are delivering specific results. For your benefit, and with your involvement.

Climate, health and mobility are issues that affect us both today and in the future. As such, we believe it is hugely important to actively involve young people in our activities.

Youth participation: the Benelux Youth Parliament and the Youth Forum

In recent years, our Secretariat-General, in cooperation with the Benelux Parliament, has organised two meetings of the Benelux Youth Parliament. During these meetings, young people from the three countries discussed the challenges of climate change and put forward their recommendations. These were formally adopted at subsequent plenary sessions of the Benelux Parliament.

The climate issue also took centre-stage at the Benelux Youth Forum. During a recent plenary session, the young people on the Forum adopted three resolutions on the energy market and hydrogen, sustainable mobility and an equitable transition. In 2021, the Benelux Youth Forum was a joint initiative of the Benelux Union, the FPS Foreign Affairs (Belgium), the Benelux Parliament and the European Youth Parliament in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Short pathways, the best possible offer: health knows no borders in the Benelux

Health is an issue that affects all generations. The Benelux Union is actively involved in strengthening cross-border healthcare for all citizens, from transport to treatment.

Rapid medical transport across our borders

Rapid transport of patients in emergencies can save lives. In border regions, the route into a neighbouring country is often the shortest. To make it easier to use this option, the Benelux countries have signed two bilateral agreements with one other — one between Belgium and Luxembourg and one between Belgium and the Netherlands — to facilitate straightforward cross-border medical transport.

Free choice in medical care

Live in Belgium and want to consult a specialist in Luxembourg? In the context of passenger mobility, cross-border healthcare has become the norm in the Benelux. For patients, this means optimisation of the medical care on offer, free choice of doctors and better access to specialist care. In addition, the Benelux countries continue to work on removing obstacles in this regard, with a view to efficient reimbursement of medical expenses, for example.

Transparent data exchange with eHealth

Accessibility and efficiency are also at the heart of the eHealth programme. Through digital processing and transmission of medical data, eHealth enables efficient patient care while ensuring confidentiality and security of data. The relevant Benelux agreements regulate the cross-border use of patient and physician identifications and authentications in the context of the eHealth system.

On two wheels or on four wheels: innovative mobility solutions

Maximum mobility with minimum impact on the environment: with the wellbeing of its citizens and the planet in mind, the Benelux Union is actively involved in promoting sustainable mobility solutions. You too can play an active role in this.

Development of cycling infrastructure

Cycling experienced a real resurgence during the recent health crisis — and remains the best way to protect the environment. Cycling is not only essential to meet EU climate targets by 2050, but also has a positive impact on people’s health.

With that in mind, the Benelux Union actively encourages the development of safe and sustainable cycling infrastructure as part of the European Green Deal through:

  • expansion of the network of cycle paths
  • setting up awareness campaigns around the use of bicycles
  • the introduction of bike-sharing systems

In November 2022, the Benelux countries and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) also launched a joint cycling road map with new initiatives to promote cycling that will serve as a model for the European Union.

Safe electric mobility

Electric vehicles are good for the environment. Even so, you might be left with certain questions. Where can I charge my car abroad? How much does a charging point cost? And what can I use to pay?

To answer these questions from a cross-border perspective, the three Benelux countries have set up the IDRO (Benelux ID Registration Organisation) service. Through its website, IDRO issues unique identifiers for Charging Point Operators (CPOs) and Mobility Service Providers (MSPs) in the Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. As an electric mobility user, you stand to gain in terms of supply security and transparency.

Common interests: exchanges between employer organisations

Just like dialogue between our young people, permanent exchange between trade associations is hugely important, especially in times of crisis and major changes. The Benelux Union has long encouraged and boosted such exchanges. In September 2022, representatives of the Benelux employer federations (FEDIL, VBO-FEB and VNO-NCW) confirmed the importance of their close cooperation, particularly in the field of energy, logistics and worker mobility. They also highlighted the opportunities presented by the accelerated energy transition, including offshore wind energy in the North Sea and solar energy.

With a view to the future, a decision was made to continue the dialogue surrounding the common interests of the Benelux countries. This once again highlighted the unique position of the Benelux countries as a European testing ground for the development of new rules in areas such as the circular economy, retail, sustainable transport and cyber security.