European Union

European Union
   Brussels serves as the de facto capital of the European Union, the successor to the European Community (1993). It hosts four of the union's institutions: the Commission, the Council of Ministers, the secretariat of the European Parliament, and the Economic and Social Committee.
   Following establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community in March 1957, offices of the organizations were housed in several buildings around Brussels. When the European Coal and Steel Community merged with these to form the European Community (EC) in 1967 centralization was imperative. The Berlaymont was the first large office block built to service the Commission. When enlargement of the European Community (1973) necessitated additional space, the glass-and-steel Charlemagne building (Bâtiment Charlemagne) was erected nearby, used by the Council of Ministers. In 1995, the Council of Ministers occupied a new site—the pink granite Consilium or Justus Lipsius building (rue de la Loi 175), named for Flemish philosopher Joest Lips (1547-1606). The European Parliament, which now holds some plenary sessions in Brussels, meets in the Hémicycle Européen, a glass and chrome building erected in 1992 on rue Wiertz. Espace Leopold, set between rue Wiertz and rue de Treves, features two mammoth administrative buildings (D4 and D5) situated on both sides of the Gare Leopold. Built to service the European Parliament, they are slated for completion. The government of the Brussels Capital Region authorized funds for redevelopment of place Jean Rey (place du Conseil) in 2000.
   The area south of the rue de la Loi adjacent to Parc Leopold in the Leopold district is now known as Euro City or the European district. Urban development and renewal have been ongoing here and will likely continue given expansion of the European Union from 15 to 25 members on 1 May 2004.
   Over 20,000 EU civil servants generate approximately 13 percent of the gross domestic product of the Brussels Capital Region, and EU workers occupy about 13 percent of total office space.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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