Treaties, institutions and European political project
The European Union is founded on the values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights and pursues the following objectives for the benefit of the citizens:
- Establish peace and stability in Europe and defend its values and interests in the world
- Create a single area of freedom, security and justice
- Ensure the protection of public health and a high quality environment
- Ensure economic well-being and social progress
- Act together in matters of international trade and agricultural production through common policies.
In order to pursue these objectives, the Union relies on legal bases, the European Treaties – the latest being the Lisbon treaty – and on institutions : the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the Court of Justice and the European Council.
Objectives for Belgium
In 1952, when the European Coal and Steel Community was established, Belgium was among the founding members of what later became the European Union.
Belgium has always been playing a leading part in the construction of a united Europe and has been encouraging the European states to strive for a stronger integration based on the shared values of freedom, prosperity, education, peace, security, justice, social protection, environment and health.
Beside the statesmen who number among the founding fathers in the construction of a united Europe (Paul-Henri Spaak, Jean Rey, Jean-Charles Snoy), other Belgian personalities are playing a prominent role in today’s Europe. On 1 January 2010, the Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy became President of the European Council. For 5 years he has embodied the European Union. Moreover, the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union (Koen Lenaerts) and the European Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (Gilles de Kerchove) are Belgians. The Belgian Commissioner Marianne Thyssen is in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.
The headquarters of the European Commission, of the Council of the European Union and of the European Council are based in Brussels. Certain plenary sessions take place in Brussels and the parliamentary committees of the European Parliament meet there.
The European policy remains one of the priority areas for the foreign policy of Belgium. Currently, the European Union is facing major challenges : ensure better political, economic and financial governance, manage the migrant crisis, fight against terrorism… Finding solutions is not obvious and the obstacles are numerous. Nevertheless, Belgium remains convinced that given the scale and the transnational nature of these challenges, efficient and sustainable solutions can only be achieved by a common, determined action from the Union and its Member States. Today, a deepening of the European project is needed more than ever.