Brussels and the European Union
Brussels was picked as the capital of the European Union, but why should the capital of this relatively
small country be chosen for such an honour?
The European Union was established in 1992 with the signing of the Maastricht
Treaty and at the present day, is made up of 27 nations and over 500 million citizens.
With a system of laws and regulations that apply to all members of the Union; goods, people and capital can move
between countries in Europe faster than ever before. The EU has also established a unified monetary system
based on the Euro, as well as aligning understandings of justice and other home affairs.
Brussels was a site of great importance to the initial organizations from which the European Union was created.
The city won a vote by members of the European Community for Coal and Steel in 1958 to be the location of
several important buildings.
Belgium was a good choice for several reasons: first of all, Belgium was central to many countries involved, and
they were also recognized as a neutral nation.
Additionally, Belgium, having recently hosted the World Exposition in the same year, had a very strong
infrastructure and well organized transit systems in place.
Luxembourg and Strasbourg were also enlisted to build institutions for what would
eventually become the EU, though Bruxelles was the foremost location of the three. While the EU has no
plans to name a capital at the moment, Bruxelles serves as the organizations de facto capital.
Most buildings that the EU required were constructed in the European Quarter of Brussels.
The greatest structure to have been built is the Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission.
Started in 1963, the Berlaymont took 6 years to build and has served as the main office of the EU ever since.
Another building of great importance in Brussels is the Justus Lipsuis Building, which has seated the Council of
the European Union since 1995. The property is named after Justus Lipsius, a Belgian philologist and humanist of
Brussels attracts a great number of journalists from all over the world who come to record the daily events of
the EU. Staff members from the EU number around 25,000 people with another 5000 staff working on site as part of
the European Parliament.
The EU has a good number of bodies, including the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of
European Union, the European Council, the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank, all but two of
which meet regularly in Bruxelles.
Brussels has formed great plans for expansion and renovation of their existing buildings in the interest of
keeping the EU well equipped for years to come.
Since the nation itself has had some issues between the Dutch and French factions within the country, some have
called for the EU properties to become an EU member state and to be run by the EU itself.
With a strong economy to support itself and a grand history behind, Belgium can only look towards accomplishing
even more in the future.