Mini-lateralism The tale of two mini-lateral formats: BENELUX and VISEGRAD4


16 May 2022




Orange Room, Egmont Palace

Type of Event



Hungarian Embassy and Egmont Institute

European Union Member States have always had the tendency to work together on several policy issues if their interest coincided, despite any other political differences they might have over time.

Often described as a small group of Member states working together on specific issues, mini-lateralism is a by-product of differentiated integration.

Mini-lateralism is one of the modalities of integration and cooperation that allows Member States to work together in non-homogeneous, flexible ways. As such it contributes to the resilience and functioning of the EU system.

Two recent crises: Brexit and Putin’s war in Ukraine will have major implications on the relationship between Member States. UK’s departure from the EU represents a unique instance of disintegration while Russia’s aggression has deepened mistrust among Member States, notwithstanding their unity over sanctions and condemnation of the invasion. It is therefore worth revisiting the question of mini-lateralism while a readjustment of the balance of power is taking place within the European Council and other EU institutions.

This conference is aiming to introduce the research of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, and the Egmont Institute. Based on quantitative data analysis and in-depth interviews with key informants, it shows that two mini-lateral formats are especially powerful within the EU: the Benelux and the Visegrád Four are clearly ahead of the pack when it comes to cooperation within different EU fora.

The event will focus on why these two formats are successful, what are the possible challenges they must face in the new European power balance, and how the members of these groups can enhance cooperation with other Member States to make the European Union more successful and resilient in the future.

Program of the conference
14:00-14:05  Welcome address by François Roux, Ambassador, Senior Advisor
in EU Affairs at the Egmont Institute

14:05-14:10  Opening remarks by the Ambassador of Hungary to Belgium
and to Luxembourg, H. E. Mr. Tamás Iván Kovács

14:10-14:20  Speech by Mr. Alain De Muyser, Secretary General of the Benelux Union

14:20-15:30  Panel discussion moderated by François Roux

  • Mr. Márton Ugrósdy, Director of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Mr. Jim Cloos, Senior Associate Fellow at the Egmont Institute and Secretary General of TEPSA (Trans European Policy Studies)
  • Mr. Benjamin Bodson, Associate Fellow at the Egmont Institute
  • Ms. Nikolett Garai, Researcher at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade

15:30-16:00  Q+A session and closing remarks

The conference will be a public event. The language will be English.

Please register here before 12 May.


(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Place du Petit Sablon 8bis, Brussels, Belgium

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