What Is the Capital of the European Union?

EU flags in front of the EU Commission building in Brussels, Belgium.

The European Union is formed by 28 countries that have joined for economic and political advantages. This region has no definite capital city, although Brussels in Belgium can be regarded as the de facto capital of the EU as history holds. Brussels hosts several European Union Institutions; this is the primary reason why it is considered as the capital city of the EU. The EU institutions within this region include the European Commission, European Council, and the European Union. Despite being home to the majority of the EU institutions, Brussels has never been declared as the official capital city.

Formation of the EU

The formation of the EU can be traced back to as early as 1951 when the six European countries ( Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany) agreed to sign the Treaty of Paris. The formation of the Treaty of Paris was aimed at establishing the European Coal and Steel (CECSC). This agreement was signed after the Second World War, and it was purposed to regulate the industrial production of the member countries under a centralized authority. The joining of these countries and other member states led to the establishment of the first institutions including the Council of Ministers, High Authority Commission Assembly, and Court of Justice.

Selecting a Capital City

During this period, the member states evaluated several cities to choose the most acceptable capital city. Brussels could have been made the capital of the EU had it not for the Belgium government that put all its weight behind Liege. Liege is a major city in Belgium. The government of Belgium denied supporting Brussels because the city lacked internal stability. All the other countries were against Liege, lack of a common understanding contributed to not settling on any specific city. Brussels was unable to gain this title due to the weak campaign from the government. However, over the years, the city has developed to become one of the most important cities in the European Union; this is because its location has played a huge role as the city now hosts several EU institutions.


The central location of Brussels within Europe makes it accessible from different member states. Brussels is situated between the primary metropolitan areas of the European Union, some of these regions include Paris, London, and Ruhr. Access to the city has been possible and convenient because of high-speed trains that connect the different areas. From Paris, it takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes, from London 1 hour and 50 minutes, and from Cologne and Amsterdam the travel time is around 4 hours. The EU is committed to making Brussels more accessible from the majority of the member nations. Various projects have been launched to improve accessibility to this region. One of the most notable projects is the “Eurocap-rail” project that is tailored to strengthen links to Strasbourg and Luxembourg City. Despite not being the official capital city, Brussels plays an essential role in the EU nations.


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