Even though officially the European Union doesn’t have a capital, Brussels in Belgium is the unofficial capital and the one with the most EU offices. But have you ever wondered why was it chosen in the first place?
Well, as it turns out, Brussels became EU’s unofficial capital because Belgium starts with a B. But let’s take things one at a time.
Here’s the story. (the article continues after the ad)
On March 1957, the treaty that creates the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Community for Atomic Energy (Euratom) is signed in Rome. Several cities are candidates for hosting them, including Brussels with a proposal for the Heyzel site. But no consensus can be reached, and on January 1, 1958, when the new institutions are supposed to open, the decision has yet to been taken. The first government officials have been hired, but they don’t know in which country their offices will be. An emergency meeting takes place in Paris on January 6, but even then nobody can overcome the stalemate. Not knowing what to do, they decided that the new institutions would be chaired in turn by the ministers of each of the six member states. Which country goes first? The first one in alphabetical order of course: Belgium.
Belgium goes on and rents some offices. And then more. And more and more and more. But the uncertainty continues and none of the other countries is deciding which city will take charge after Brussels. From that time on, the entrenchment of Brussels as the capital of Europe is just a massive snowball process.
Brussels was never chosen as the capital of the EU. It became the capital of the EU by stealth, essentially because of the inability of the six, then nine, then twelve, then fifteen, then twenty five and now twenty eight member states to decide which city should be the capital!