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Brussels Regional Public Service

Brussels and the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union

From January to June 2024, Belgium will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), a position it hasn’t held since 2010.

A multicultural region with many assets

The Brussels Region and its 19 municipalities lie at the heart of Belgium and a dynamic metropolis and are home to 1.2 million inhabitants. As the country’s capital, it is also the seat of the Union’s main institutions and has become the capital of 450 million Europeans.

Brussels encourages mixing, mingling and exchange so that new ideas can germinate and shape our future. The people of Brussels are optimists who embrace the chaos and beauty of their perfectly imperfect city.

Brussels is a cosmopolitan metropolis and a living canvas of cultural diversity, attracting minds from all over the world. While the region has two official languages, French and Dutch, the international nature of Brussels transcends this classification, as it is home to over 183 nationalities, and around 100 languages are spoken.

Home to numerous European institutions, Brussels plays a key role in the decisions that shape the destiny of the continent and beyond, as it also hosts the headquarters of leading international organisations including NATO, reinforcing its position as a strategic hub of global diplomacy.

It was still an industrial city in the 1950s, but Brussels’ economy has undergone a radical transformation to become more service-oriented. International institutions, as well as all the parallel activities generated by this ecosystem, account for a total of around 25% of economic activity and employment in the Region.

The presidency and the EU legislative process

To understand the role of a presidency, one must first grasp how the European institutions work. In a nutshell, the three main institutions, i.e., the Council, along with the European Parliament and the European Commission, develop common policies for all 27 Member States. When the Commission proposes a legislative text (a directive, a regulation), the Council and the Parliament negotiate it separately and then attempt to reconcile their viewpoints to achieve an agreement that best respects everyone’s interests and allows its application throughout the EU. This lengthy process impacts all European citizens.

The Belgian presidency

Belgium will thus be tasked with presiding over all matters dealt with at the European level, from research to justice, industry to employment, and extending to finances and telecommunications. It will also negotiate numerous agreements with the European Parliament.

Given the country’s institutional organisation, the regions and communities are, of course, involved and tasked with presiding over councils within their competencies but always on behalf of Belgium.

It is in this particular context that the Brussels-Capital Region will preside over the Environment Council and urban policy.

The Brussels-Capital Region holds a unique position, after all. Situated at the heart of the European Union, it is a cosmopolitan metropolis on a human scale, a place embodying diversity where decisions of 27 Member States are made. It is often said, albeit inaccurately, that Brussels decides!

Some of the teams responsible for organising the Brussels leg of this presidency.
Some of the teams responsible for organising the Brussels leg of this presidency.

The Environment Council

As its name suggests, this Council is responsible for the European Union’s policy on the environment and climate. It focuses on environmental protection, the rational use of natural resources, and the preservation of human health. Additionally, it addresses international environmental issues, with a particular emphasis on climate change. During this legislative term, the Environment Council has been at the core of a particularly ambitious programme, as the EU has set the objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Belgium, and by extension, the Brussels-Capital Region, intend to concentrate on topics close to their hearts, such as promoting the circular economy, adaptation and resilience, and a fair transition. This Council will be chaired by the Brussels Minister of the Environment, Alain Maron.

Urban policy

While not the subject of a specific Council, Member States convene at the intergovernmental level to address and debate common issues within the context of an informal Council or a high-level conference. The Brussels-Capital Region has opted for the latter format by bringing together the mayors of major European cities who will advocate for an ambitious urban policy after the 2024 elections. 

The discussions will be chaired by Minister-President Rudi Vervoort, responsible for territorial development and urban renewal, and Secretary of State Ans Persoons, in charge of urban planning and heritage.

Various events to celebrate Europe, Belgium and Brussels

The Brussels-Capital Region will also be associated with events organised in collaboration with other federated entities, the federal government, and even the European Commission in areas such as social economy, animal welfare, research, and the Green Deal.

Finally, as the capital of Europe, Brussels will showcase itself with some flagship events. In collaboration with the European Parliament, artists Ann Veronica Janssens and Michel François will create an installation on the Solidarność esplanade, while the Bright light festival and Brussels Pride will be dedicated to Europe. Exhibitions on Art Nouveau or housing will also challenge our perspective.

Calendar of events in the Brussels-Capital Region

Type of eventTitle of the eventStart dateEnd dateLocation
Cultural eventIf you want to be heard, say it in Brussels1/09/202330/06/2024Press Club Brussels Europe
Cultural eventPower12/10/202325/02/2024CIVA
Cultural eventEuropean Union activities for 12-18 year-olds: “All European citizens! (FR)1/01/20245/01/2024TYN – Talented Youth Network
Cultural eventExhibition: “Stoclet 1911 Restitution”2/01/202414/04/2024Musée Art & Histoire
Cultural eventThe Artist’s Parliament: L’Aire d’un Souffle10/01/202430/06/2024Esplanade Solidarnosc
Cultural eventClosing event of the exhibtion “Throwaway, the history of a modern crisis”13/01/202413/01/2024Maison de l’Histoire Européenne
Official eventInformal Environment Council15/01/202416/01/2024Palais d’Egmont
Official eventBelgian Renovation Week15/01/202418/01/2024Maison de la Poste
OtherInterparlementary conference22/01/202422/01/2024Parlement bruxellois
Official eventA European urban policy fit for the future23/01/202424/01/2024Palais d’Egmont
OtherRhine-Meuse Forum 2024: The Green Deal, and now?25/01/202425/01/2024Grand Est-Europe
Official eventSymposium: Call to Care for Animal Welfare29/01/202429/01/2024Commission Européenne / Maison de la Poste
OtherConference on citizen participation and the involvement of local authorities in the European project1/02/20241/02/2024Hôtel de Ville de Saint-Gilles
OtherResearch to Reality – Digital Solutions to European Challenges5/02/20246/02/2024The EGG Brussels
OtherBridging the funding gap, Investors for innovation and the sustainability transition in Europe5/02/20245/02/2024BOZAR
OtherTPE Summit: Global Gateway7/02/20247/02/2024Residence Palace
Cultural eventEuropavox Festival Brussels8/02/20249/02/2024Botanique
Official eventThe social economy at the core of transitions12/02/202413/02/2024Palais des Congrès, Liège
Cultural eventBright Festival: Brussels festival of lights15/02/202418/02/2024Brussels : Centre and European Quarter
OtherInauguration Usquare15/02/202415/02/2024Usquare
Cultural eventYoung people and Europe, the big debate26/02/202426/02/2024Brussels
Cultural eventEuropean Union activities for 12-18 year-olds: “All European citizens! (FR)26/02/20241/03/2024TYN – Talented Youth Network
Cultural eventEuropean Union activities for 12-18 year-olds: “All European citizens! (FR)4/03/20248/03/2024TYN – Talented Youth Network
OtherFood 2030 Network Conference5/03/20248/03/2024Brussels
Official eventBelgian soil week11/03/202415/03/2024Auditoire BEL
Official eventEuropean Summit of Regions and Cities18/03/202419/03/2024Mons
Official eventSeminar: Urban Archaelogy and the Cities of Tomorrow20/03/202423/03/2024KBR / Hôtel de Ville
OtherEFUS: European Forum on Urban Security20/03/202422/03/2024The EGG Brussels
Official eventR&I Dimension of the European Green Deal21/03/202421/03/2024Tour & Taxis
Official eventFormal Environmental Council25/03/202425/03/2024Council, Brussels
OtherCurrent state of extremism and populism: what consequences for the rise of racism in Europe?25/03/202425/03/2024Cité Miroir, Liège
Cultural eventIn miniature, what the EU does for its citizens1/04/202430/06/2024Mini-Europe
Official eventConnecting Europe Days2/04/20245/04/2024SQUARE
Official eventEU Dialogue: Driving positive change in the Meeting Industry16/04/202417/04/2024Sparks
OtherHealthy cities, healthy people: Pathways for clean air in the EU’s urban environments 23/04/202423/04/2024nhow Brussels Bloom Hotel
Official eventLab focusing on the Urban Agenda for the EU24/04/202424/04/
Official eventUrban policy expert meeting (UDG)25/04/202425/04/2024La Bourse, Namur
Official eventTowards thriving territories: the potential of nature-based solutions29/04/202429/04/2024Auditoire BEL
Cultural eventEuropean Union Youth Orchestra, Bloch & Chooi9/05/20249/05/2024Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles
Cultural eventEurope Day – 10 years of Liveurope9/05/20249/05/2024Ancienne Belgique
Cultural eventEuropean Union Youth Orchestra & Jonathan Fournel10/05/202410/05/2024Palais des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi
Official eventA Moment of Choice Towards a European Pact for the Future – European Environment Bureau Annual Conference13/05/202414/05/2024Auditoire BEL
Cultural eventEurope Connexion14/05/202425/05/2024Théâtre des Martyrs
Cultural eventExhibition: “New Ways of Living”16/05/202429/09/2024Halles Saint-Géry
Cultural eventBrussels Pride: Safe Everyday Everywhere18/05/202418/05/2024Brussels
Official event3rd Forum on the Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change23/05/202423/05/2024Auditoire BEL
Official eventSeminar with local urban development agencies and administrations in European cities29/05/202430/05/2024COOP
OtherThe Environment Festival2/06/20242/06/2024Tour & Taxis
OtherINDTech 20243/06/20245/06/2024Namur
Official eventFormal Environment Council17/06/202417/06/2024Council, Luxembourg
Official eventPFAS: study, treatment and management of health risks20/06/202421/06/2024Auditoire BEL
Official eventMeeting of the Directors General on Urban Matters (DGUM)26/06/202426/06/2024Square Brussels

Want to know more :

Websites of the representatives of the Brussels-Capital Region:

Website of the Belgian presidency :