Belgium and the European Union
In 1957, Belgium was a founding member of what has now become the European Union. Ever since, it has always actively campaigned for the development and deepening of Europe. Some leading Belgian politicians have also played key roles in European construction. Consequently, Belgians’ minds and Belgium’s identity have long been shaped by the country’s membership of the European Community.
The European Union plays a very prominent role in Belgians’ daily lives and brings citizens genuinely close to European institutions.
For instance, the Commission holds its meetings in Brussels except when the European Parliament holds plenary sessions in Strasbourg. The Commission has its headquarters in the Berlaymont building in Brussels.
The Council also meets in Brussels, having its headquarters in the Justus Lipsius building. Since 2008, a new home for it has been under preparation in the Résidence Palace. Brussels has also been the venue for EU Council presidencies since May 2004.
Numerous institutions that have to do with the European Union, like the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) are also based in Brussels.
Around 25,000 European civil servants work in Brussels.