In 1958, Brussels became the seat of the European Economic Communities (EEC), the forerunner of the European Union, though the six original Member States stressed that this was a “provisional” arrangement. In 1992, the Member States finally decided at the Edinburgh summit to put an end to this uncertain status and declared Brussels as the official capital of Europe.
Over the past fifty years, the number of European institutions in Brussels has steadily increased, as has the number of EU officials. As a result, Brussels has become the political hub of the European Union, to such an extent that many people see Brussels as synonymous with Europe.
The European institutions currently occupy almost 80 buildings in Brussels Region. Among the many EU institutions based in Brussels, the following are the most important:
Hundreds of other organisations have been drawn to Brussels because of its role as the decision-making hub of Europe, including lobby groups, NGOs, international federations and think tanks. According to the most recent figures, some 30,500 officials work directly for the European Union in Brussels, while an estimated 30,000 Europeans are employed in other organisations linked to the EU.