In Europe
Group photo in the European Council.

A period of many events

For the first time in over 13 years, it was Belgium's turn to assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union. Brussels, the cosmopolitan metropolis home to many European institutions, has over the past six months played a pivotal role in the decisions that shape the Union’s future. The Brussels-Capital Region (BCR) actively participated in this adventure and looks back with satisfaction on a period marked by fruitful initiatives and collaborations.

While the BCR’s contribution to environmental, climate and urban policies have already received significant attention, this article highlights other noteworthy contributions from our regional partners who have all contributed to strengthening Brussels’ position and image in Europe.

At the beginning of the Belgian presidency,, the department responsible for urban planning, cultural heritage and urban revitalisation, organised a virtual reality exhibition showcasing the Stoclet Palace in its original, early 20th century grandeur. The Palace, a World Heritage List site since 2009, has never been opened to the public.

Photos displayed on green pillars in a large empty room.
Exposition Stoclet 1911 Restitution – Séverin Malaud ©
A grid in front of glass buildings
Inauguration of the work of art “L’Aire d’un Souffle”. Alain ROLLAND © European Union 2024 – Source : EP

Freedom and security

Meanwhile, on the Esplanade Solidarność in front of the European Parliament, the Brussels Commissioner for European and International Organisations (CEIO) installed a work of art for the inaugural “The Artists’ Parliament” event. “L’Aire d’un Souffle”, by Ann Veronica Janssens and Michel François, represents the free movement of people, but also a broken world of borders, obstacles and separations, with a possible way out.

Security was also a prominent theme. The eighth Conference on Security, Democracy and Cities, co-hosted by, the regional body responsible for coordinating prevention and safety in the BCR, and the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS) gathered over 100 speakers and 700 participants from 140 cities and regions across Europe and beyond for this triennial conference. The conference, featuring speakers like the Brussels Minister-President, addressed contemporary and future security challenges faced daily by local elected representatives. The work of EFUS contributes to the development of the upcoming European Security Strategy 2025-2029. was inaugurated in February with its open view of the neighbourhood and therefore, the world. Located in the renovated Fritz Toussaint barracks at the Free University of Brussels and Université Libre de Bruxelles, the international research centre focuses on sustainable development research, education, knowledge sharing, entrepreneurship and innovation. The project, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Brussels government, is set to evolve into a fully-fledged university district by 2030.


European events

The BCR actively participated on the European stage. At the Global Gateway event, highlighted its role as a bridge between companies, societies and economies, contributing to a world where prosperity and social justice go hand in hand.

Brussels ministers also actively participated in a number of events organised by the European institutions.

The Connecting Europe Days, organised in cooperation with the European Commission, brought together over 3,200 participants from more than 80 different countries. The event focused on developing a more sustainable, intelligent and resilient transport and mobility network in Europe, with the Brussels Ministers of Environment and Mobility for the BCR as panellists.

The speakers are on stage. A lady speaks into a microphone.
Conference « Map to global gateway for exporting small and medium enterprises » © Lieven Van Assche
A group of people, standing in an arc, listen to the explanations of a guide in front of a boat.
During the Connecting Europe Days 2024, a guided tour of the Port of Brussels was organised to promote the decarbonisation of river transport. The tour enabled participants to see the latest innovative river boats.

The BCR also played a key role in organising the High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Social Economy in Liege, with the participation of the State Secretary for Economic Transition and the Minister for Employment and Vocational Training, among others. The latter also participated in activities celebrating the end of the European Year of Skills in Brussels.


Contribution at the local and European level

The initiatives and collaborations of,,, CEIO, Brussels Economy and Employment and benefit not only the local community, but also the broader European society.

Finally, the BCR served once again, and more than ever, as the backdrop for high-level events, with numerous ministerial meetings taking place at the Egmont Palace, near the Sablon district.

The Brussels-Capital Region takes pride in its significant contribution to the European Union throughout the presidency and looks forward to future collaboration and developments.