European action

The Brussels-Capital Region defends Brussels’ interests at the European institutions and participates in many discussions and projects, particularly within the framework of the European networks of cities. As the body responsible for initiating the territorial development strategy, is one of the Brussels regional actors present on the European stage.

    European flags
    European flags
    © SPRB-GOB


    European Union and Urban Development

    European Union and urban development

    European regional policy

    European regional policy, also known as cohesion policy is the European Union’s main investment policy. It aims to reduce economic, social and territorial differences between regions and cities. It is comprised of five European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF):

    •  European Regional Development Fund (ERDF);
    •  European Social Fund (ESF);
    •  Cohesion Fund
    •  European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD);
    •  European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

    For the 2014-2020 period, the Brussels-Capital Region was given 332 million euros. These funds are used to finance various projects including business centres, cultural centres, crèches, support to universities, training and assistance to young people...

    For the 2021-2027 period, the European Commission is planning to focus on five priorities: a smarter Europe (1), a greener, carbon free Europe (2), a more connected (3), more social Europe (4) and a Europe closer to citizens (5). This last priority will focus on projects relating to territorial planning and sustainable urban development. is contributing to the preparation of the future, post-2020 cohesion policy. In partnership with Brussels international, it monitors and analyses the territorial dimension so that the Brussels Region can conduct future projects at various territorial levels: inter-metropolitan (with the major cities of  north-west Europe), metropolitan and inter-regional (with the other Belgian regions) regional (regional territorial plans such as the PRDD) and local (strategic areas and spatial planning tools).

    Urban Agenda for the European Union

    The Urban Agenda for the European Union promotes cooperation between Member States, cities, the European Commission and other stakeholders in order to stimulate growth, durability and innovation in Europe's cities. It enables cities to be more involved in developing European policies and has set up partnerships on the 14 core themes for their future.

    The Brussels-Capital Region is a member of two of these partnerships: Urban Poverty and Security in Public Spaces. In this second partnership, works under the coordination of Brussels Prevention and Security.

    Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities

    The Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities adopted in 2007 defines the basic principles for the development of European cities: a sustainable, integrated and multi-level approach, participation and priority given to the redevelopment of deprived neighbourhoods. A new version of the Leipzig Charter has been adopted in December 2020 by the European Ministers responsible for Urban Development. provides the official representation for the Brussels Region at the informal meetings of the Council which bring together experts and directors of the administrations responsible for urban development in the 28 Member States. The charter's revision is discussed at these meetings.

    Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2030

    The Territorial Agenda of the European Union sets out the priorities for Member States in terms of territorial development and the measures to be taken for its implementation. This non-binding document serves as guidance for taking greater account of territorial aspects when implementing European policies. A new Territorial agenda has been adopted in December 2020 by the European Ministers responsible for Territorial Cohesion. provides the official representation for the Brussels Region at the informal meetings of the Council which bring together experts and directors of the administrations responsible for territorial planning in the 28 Member States. The Territorial Agenda's revision and implementation is discussed at these meetings.

    Actions of

    Actions of

    Official representation of the Brussels Region at the European institutions

    At the European level, represents the Brussels-Capital Region in three working groups: the Urban Development Group (UDG), the Network of Territorial Cohesion Contact Points (NTCCP) and the Expert Group on Territorial Cohesion and Urban Matters (EGTCUM).

    It also represents the Region on the Monitoring Committee and General Assembly of the ESPON (European Spatial Planning Observation Network) programme which supports the development of territorial policies in the European Union by producing and distributing research on territorial development.

    Participation in European projects

    In addition to the Regional ERDF and ESF programmes, there are several European programmes that can be used to obtain financing.

    Programmes Brussels contact points  European information
    URBACT Belgian contact point

    URBACT Secretariat

    Urban Innovative Actions BRPS – Brussels International Secretariat UIA
    INTERREG North-West Europe BRPS – Brussels International Secretariat North-West INTERREG
    INTERREG EUROPE  BRPS – Brussels international Secretariat INTERREG
    ESPON  Belgian contact point GECT ESPON
    HORIZON 2020 European Commission
    LIFE   Belgian Contact point European Commission
    ERASMUS+ Wallonia-Brussels Federation
    ERASMUS+ takes part in various European projects financed by these programmes:

    Ongoing projects

    ASSET: The 11 project partners of ASSET led by the city of Amsterdam are working on a spatial strategy for the Eurodelta to boost the circular transition of the built environment. Cities, regions, associations, and the academic field are aligning their research agendas to explore the added value of collaboration on the scale of the Eurodelta, to reach the goals of the EU Green Deal on circular economy in the building materials. This project is financed by the european programme Interreg North Wes Europe.

    More info about the ASSET project

    Past projects

    Cities of making, a research project financed by the JPI Urban Europe and Horizon 2020 programmes, which explore the future of urban production in European cities; ;

    Calico,an innovative Brussels intergenerational living project coordinated by Brussels Housing and the Community Land Trust Brussels (CLTB), and financed by the Innovative Urban Actions programme;  

    Watch our video on the Calico project

    URBAN MAESTRO, a cooperation between UN-Habitat, the Bartlett School of Planning in London and via the Bouwmeester master architect of the Brussels-Capital Region. It is funded by the Horizon 2020 programme and aims to improve urban quality through new, more flexible and creative planning methods;

    Stop Drop-Out, a project bringing together partners from Belgium, France, Hungary and Aruba, financed by the Erasmus+ programme and which aims to discuss schemes to keep people attending school, targeting adults aged 30 to 34 years;

    SPIMA, a project that studies the tools and approaches implemented by 10 European metropolitan areas (including the Brussels-Capital Region) to manage spatial development at metropolitan level. It is financed by the ESPON programme. 

    Follow up of European Directives in relation to spatial planning provides its expertise to the Belgian regional or federal administrations responsible for following up the negotiations on European Directives. Indeed, there are many European Directives that impact territorial planning policies such as the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive which sets new standards for taking environmental considerations into account in the planning process in several countries.

    Partnership with the European Metropolis of Lille

    The European Metropolis of Lille is an important partner for the Brussels Region. helped to draft the new cooperation agreement between the two metropolitan areas, signed on 2 May 2019. This agreement focuses on three topics of common interest: attractiveness, sustainable land development and the European Union and international areas. coordinates the implementation of the priority on sustainable land development in which other Brussels organisations such as, Brussels Environment and Brussels Mobility are also involved.  It also contributes to the European Union and international areas priority coordinated by Brussels International/Delegation of the BCR to the EU.

    Exchanges with other European cities and regions contributes to the exchanges with other European cities and regions through workshops or field visits, in Brussels or abroad such as Prague, Malmö, Lille, Lyon, Oslo, Amsterdam, etc.

    It is also active in conferences such as the Cities Forum, the European Week of Regions and Cities, the ESPON seminars, the annual conferences of the French Network of Urban Planning Agencies (FNAU), etc.

    European bodies and networks is active in various bodies and networks in Europe:

    Eurostat :  monitoring the works as part of the participation of the BISA (Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis) at the Interfederal Statistical Institute (IIS)-, International positioning working group);

    European Urban Audit: which measures the perception of quality of life in 79 European cities: the BISA provides data..

    EUROCITIES, a platform for discussion and representation of major European cities in terms of urban issues; presides over its Metropolitan areas working group and takes part in the activities of other working groups (Cohesion policy, EU Urban Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals, etc.) along with conferences and training courses;

    METREX, a network of experts in territorial planning in European regions and metropolitan areas;

    European Metropolitan Authorities (EMA), a network promoting and recognising the role of metropolitan areas in Europe; participates in the annual EMA forum.