To the general public, “Benelux” may sound like a nicely crafted acronym referring to a generic grouping of three neighbouring countries – Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg – but history suggests the term has a more meaningful purpose. Indeed, the Benelux was created as the first customs union in post-war Europe and is considered the precursor to the formation of the European Union (EU), the world’s largest single economic market, boasting 28 countries. Belgium and Luxembourg played a particularly crucial role in founding the EU, although their economic and political importance is now significantly overshadowed by the bloc’s largest economies – Germany and France. Nonetheless, both Belgium and Luxembourg have thrived, despite their small population sizes, to remain at the forefront of the EU decision-making machine, establishing their respective capitals as key locations for EU institutions. While Brussels is dubbed the ‘Capital of Europe’ with EU’s headquarters located there, Luxembourg hosts EU’s powerful Court of Justice and the European Investment Bank. The presence of such large institutions in Brussels and Luxembourg should in itself be a boost for the local economies, and create the conditions for dynamic occupier and investment office markets. This month’s report looks at office markets in Belgium and Luxembourg, assessing opportunities in light of Brexit.
Source : CBRE Global Investors