The European Union, as you know, is an economic and political union of 28 member states that are located in Europe. For its good functioning,  the EU has decided not to concentrate its seven institutions in one only city, they are spread across four “Europeans Capital” which are Brussels, Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Strasbourg.

The seats have been a matter of political dispute since the states first failed to reach an agreement at the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952. However, a final agreement between member states was reached in 1992, and later attached to the Treaty of Amsterdam. Nevertheless, the seat of the European Parliament remains controversial. The work of the Parliament is divided between these four major cities, which is seen as a problem because of the large number of deputies, staff, and documents which need to be moved.

  • BRUSSELS

https://i0.wp.com/isabelle-thomas.fr/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Belgique-Bruxelles-Commission-Europeenne-Siege-1-11.jpg

Since the decision of the member states to make Brussels the primary seat of the European institutions in 1997, Brussels has become, with each major institution and now the European Council, the de facto capital of Europe.
In the course of successive enlargements more and more European institutions have been established in the Brussels-Capital Region, which has created a European neighbourhood in the center of the Region.

In the heart of the city the European political bodies are gathered. First, there is  the European Parliament which is the community institution representing the combined 470 million inhabitants of the member states of the EU. As the only EU institution elected directly by universal suffrage, the European Parliament has three fundamental powers: legislative power, budget power and political control of the European institutions.  Brussels hosts deputies three weeks out of every four for additional plenary sessions and the meetings of parliamentary committees and political groups. Then, the Council of the European Union which is made up of representatives of the governments of the EU member states. The Council is the most important legislative body and the decision-making centre of the European Union. There’s also the European Commission, located at Berlaymont, which drives the integration process and it is the only body allowed to propose EU legislation as well as being the guardian of the Treaties. The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission . There is one member per member state, though members are bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than their home state. The European Council is the summit of the heads of government of  the twenty-eight Member states of the European Union, under the supervision of a president asked to facilitate the compromise. Two European councils take place every year and the aim is to define the main line of the politicy of the Union, essentially regarding foreign policy. The European Economic and Social Committee is the assembly of European economic and social partners and the voice of organised civil society organisations (consumers and other interest groups). It issues the recommendations of its members and defends their interests in the political discussions with the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament. Finally, the Committee of the Regions is the political assembly representing local and regional levels of Europe. The Committee of the Regions must be consulted before any decisions made by the EU on matters that affect the local and regional authorities, such as regional policy, environment, education and transport. It is located on the buildings where we can also find the European Economic and Social Committee.

  • LUXEMBOURG

https://i2.wp.com/www.visitluxembourg.com/media/cache/11130_cropped_840_530_90_5049ae9c44be8_luxembourg-ville.jpg

Luxembourg City is the seat of several institutions of the European Union, including just like Brussels a European  Comission.The majority of these institutions are located in the Kirchberg quarter, in the northeast of the city.

There is the European Court of Justice which is the highest court in the European Union in matters of European Union law. It is part of the Court of Justice of the European Union and its role is to interpret  EU law and ensure its equal implementation across all EU member states. The Court was established in 1952 and is based in Luxembourg. It is composed of one judge per member state, currently 28 , although it normally deals with cases in panels of three, five or thirteen judges. This role distinguishes it from other international jurisdictions because its jurisdiction is compulsory and its decisions are enforced on all in the European Union. The attributions of the Court of justice generally follow  the evolutions of treaties and the increase of the skills of the European Union. We can also find in Luxembourg the European Court of Auditors which was established by the Treaty of Brussels of July 22nd, 1975, and took office in October, 1977. It was raised to the rank of  a European institution, in November 1993, with the coming of the treaty of Maastricht. It is a superior Institution of control which controls the financial management of the European Union, and its institutions. The court of auditors allows the European Union to have an independent external supervisory body, different from the persons in charge of the financial management within the institutions. Then, there’s the European Investment Bank which is the financial institution of the Member states of the European Union. Its main aim is to borrow on financial markets to finance projects within the European Union. The EIB also finances projects except the European Union in particular in the Mediterranean partner countries. Finally, there is the General Secretary of European Parliament whose mission is to coordinate the legislative works and to organize the plenary sessions and the other meetings.

  • FRANKFURT

https://i2.wp.com/www.reseauetudiant.com/files/uploads/francfort.jpg

Frankfurt am Main, commonly known as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2012 population of 687 775. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010.  Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2013, the geographic centre of the European Union has been about 40 km (25 mi) east of Frankfurt.

Frankfurt is the largest financial centre in continental Europe and ranks among the world’s leading financial centres. It is home to the European Central Bank, which is the central bank of the eurozone, consisting of 18 European Union member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender. It is also home to Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and several large commercial banks. Frankfurt is the richest city in Germany, and one of the most globalized European cites ; indeed, one person in three does not have the German nationality

  • STRASBOURG

Strasbourg is the seat of over twenty international institutions, most famously of the Council of Europe and of the European Parliament, of which it is the official seat. Strasbourg is considered as the legislative and democratic capital of the European Union.

Strasbourg is :

the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, the seat of the Council of Europe with all the bodies and organisations affiliated to this institution, the seat of the European Parliament, the seat of the European Ombudsman, the seat of the Eurocorps headquarters, the seat of the Franco-German television channel Arte the seat of the European Science Foundation, the seat of the International Institute of Human Rights, the seat of the Human Frontier Science Program, the seat of the International Commission on Civil Status, the seat of the Assembly of European Régions and the seat of the Centre for European Studies.

France and Germany have created a Eurodistrict straddling the Rhine, combining the Greater Strasbourg and the Ortenau district of Baden-Württemberg, with some common administration. The combined population of this district is 884,988 according to the latest official national statistics.

Advertisements