Treaties, institutions and European political project
The European Union is founded on the values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights and continues to implement the following objectives for the benefit of its citizens:
- establish peace and stability in Europe and promote the welfare of its citizens;
- preserve a single area of freedom, security and justice;
- promote an internal market based on a highly competitive social market economy, contributing to social justice and social, scientific and technical progress and maintaining a high level of climate protection;
- strengthen the economic and monetary union;
- defend its values and interests in the world, inter alia by working for free and fair trade, the protection of human rights and strict compliance with international law.
In pursuit of these objectives, the Union relies on legal bases, the European treaties (the most recent being the Lisbon Treaty) and institutions: the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the Court of Justice.
Objectives for Belgium
In 1952, during the early days of the European Coal and Steel Community, Belgium was one of the founding members of what later became the European Union.
Our country has always played a leading role in the construction of a united Europe and has encouraged European states to move towards greater integration around the shared values of freedom, prosperity, education, peace, security, justice, social protection, the environment and health.
In addition to the statesmen who were among the founding fathers in the construction of a united Europe (Paul-Henri Spaak, Jean Rey, Jean-Charles Snoy), Belgians still play a leading role in Europe today. Two former Belgian Prime Ministers, Herman Van Rompuy and Charles Michel, have served as Presidents of the European Council while other Belgians also hold key positions: Koen Lenaerts, President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Didier Seeuws, Head of the European Council's Special Task Force on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's negotiator on Brexit and Gilles de Kerchove, European Counter-Terrorism Coordinator.
The headquarters of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Council are based in Brussels. Certain European Parliament plenary sessions and parliamentary committee meetings also take place in Brussels.
European policy remains one of the priority areas for Belgium's foreign policy. The European Union is currently facing major challenges: the COVID-19 crisis, Brexit, migration, issues linked to the rule of law, the answers to which are far from simple. However, Belgium is convinced that, given their scale and transnational nature, these challenges can only be solved effectively and sustainably through joint action by the Union and the Member States. It is now more important than ever to intensify the European project.