Building Europe is also making its capital city
It is more than 50 years ago that the European institutions settled down in Brussels. Their presence has not always been a total success story. On the one hand there have been difficulties integrating the EU institutions in the city, and Brussels has become associated with an image of a technocratic and bureaucratic Europe. On the other hand the EU’s presence is one of the main assets in the city’s urban development. A better integration of Europe in the city can only be beneficial for both Brussels and the EU.
Making Brussels is integrating all citizens in the urban project
In 2001, the then President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, and Belgian Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, launched a debate around Brussels as the ‘Capital of Europe'. The Prodi-Verhofstadt Report refers to the importance of developing a main centre for the European project. An objective in the report is better integration of EU-staff into the urban fabric of Brussels.
Branding Brussels as the Capital of Europe is enhancing European citizenship
To contribute to this development, the two Brussels Universities (Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) joined forces to coordinate their research on the subject. This gave birth to the idea of "Brussels for Europe".
The two universities then jointly developed masterclasses on Brussels for European civil servants. There is also a shorter programme targeted at newcomers called "Discover Brussels". The project is supported by the Rectors of both universities and the Brussels Regional Government through the Brussels-Europe Liaison Office. The European School of Administration which provides training to staff in the EU institutions is a partner in the Brussels for Europe initiative.