The capital of Belgium, a city of nearly one million
people, which is famous for its chocolates, beer and
unsafe demolition, is often regarded as the unofficial
capital of the European Union.
'Brussels' is also a
convenient and sometimes a negative label for all
matters relating to the EU because it is the home to
many European Union institutions and other
The Council of Ministers,
the European Commission, the Economic and Social
Committee and the Committee of the Regions are all
based in Brussels. Most European Parliament
committee meetings are held in Brussels and, since 1993,
a number of two day plenary sessions have been held in
the Parliament's new complex.
Brussels is also home to the national representations of
the member states, including the UK Permanent
Representation to the EU (UKREP) and the many
diplomatic missions accredited to the union. Many
European-wide lobbying organisations are based in
Brussels, together with many hundreds of journalists.
Numerous local authorities and regional authorities have
offices in Brussels. The North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation (NATO) is also located in Brussels.