Brussels and the European Union

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels and the European Union

Brussels (Belgium) is considered the de facto capital of the European Union, having a long history of hosting a number of principal EU institutions within its European Quarter. The EU has no official capital, and no plans to declare one, but Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat (officially the second seat but de facto the most important one) of the European Parliament. In 2013, this presence generated about 250 million euros (8.3% of the regional GDP) and 121,000 jobs (16.7% of the regional employment).

In 1951, the leaders of six European countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, France, Italy and West Germany) signed the Treaty of Paris which created the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), and with this new community came the first institutions: the High Authority, Council of Ministers, Court of Justice and Common Assembly. A number of cities were considered, and Brussels would have been accepted as a compromise, but the Belgian government put all its effort into backing Liège, opposed by all the other members, and was unable to formally back Brussels due to internal instability.

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