Belgium and the Netherlands have for many decades been the engines of integration processes in Europe, giving priority to the economic aspects of integration.
The countries played an important role in the formation of the European Union, which is the only integration association in the world that has managed to reach the stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Within the euro area, supranational institutions conduct a common monetary policy. However, there has been a lot of discussion about the effectiveness of the EMU since its founding — experts criticize the union for its inflexible monetary policy. This is especially acute in times of crisis, when the European economies one after another go into a phase of decline and cannot take effective measures due to the unification of monetary policy. Therefore, this topic is particularly relevant during the current coronacrisis.
The article considers the role of particular countries, namely Belgium and the Netherlands, in complex and multifaceted integration processes affecting the interests and functioning of most states of the continent. This determines the scientific novelty of the presented work.
The purpose of this article is to study the role of Belgium and the Netherlands in the process of monetary integration, as well as to analyze the economic consequences of these countries' accession to the euro area. The main part of the work consists of three sections. In the first section, the author studies the participation of the countries in monetary integration in the 1970s-1999: the approaches of Belgium and the Netherlands to this process, their participation in various currency mechanisms (European Currency Snake, the European Monetary System and others), the compliance of Belgium and the Netherlands with the Maastricht criteria before joining the euro zone. In the second section the author shows how participation in the EMU affected the state of the economies of the two countries, as well as their economic cooperation with European partners. The third section analyzes the impact of anti-crisis programs of supranational authorities (during the crisis of 2008-2009, the European debt crisis, and the current coronacrisis) on the economies of Belgium and the Netherlands.
In the conclusion the author posits that joining the euro area, in general, has brought positive consequences for the economies of Belgium and the Netherlands; the competent policy of the ECB contributed to a relatively successful recovery from economic crises by these countries. However, the principles of European solidarity can create certain difficulties for Belgium and the Netherlands.