Keywords: foreign policy, European integration, Benelux countries, European Union policy


The article analyzes the role of the Russian factor in the attitude of Benelux countries towards Ukraine from 2014 to 2019. The author proceeds from the fact that one of the factors in a state's choice of a certain strategy in the international arena is often the size of the state. The study of the place and role of “small” states has become a separate field of study in the history of international relations since the publication of the work of the American researcher Annette Baker. Proponents of this theory share the opinion that the size of a state's territory significantly affects its political strategy. The author notes that there is no single definition of a “small” state, since the characteristics by which the state as such is defined are constantly changing. In general, the signs of a “small” state are small population, size of territory, low level of activity in the international arena.

The author of the article concludes that the foreign policy strategies of all three Benelux countries can be called pragmatic. In the author's opinion, this approach is explained, first of all, by close cooperation in the field of economics and disadvantage of completely breaking off relations with Russia. The Benelux countries are small states compared to their European neighbors; their main strength is economic stability. It was found that for the Benelux countries, active intervention in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine means a threat to economic ties. The Benelux countries generally support the EU's sanctions policy, but insist on dialogue, considering sanctions a fewer effective means of achieving goals. The Netherlands occupies the most active position among the Benelux countries in the conflict, however, this position is mainly caused by internal concerns and the ongoing investigation of the Boeing MH17 crash


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