The night of 24 to 25 July 1952 was to enter the history books. After 18 hours of talks, Joseph Bech, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign Affairs, suggested that the High Authority of the ECSC, the European Coal and Steel Community, should begin its work in Luxembourg. His proposal was finally adopted.
The High Authority of the ECSC remained in Luxembourg until the mid-1960s, i.e. until the merger of the executive bodies of the ECSC, European Economic Community and Euratom, from which the European Commission evolved. On several occasions, the 'seat issue' has given rise to heated political discussions.
Today, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers have their seat in Brussels. Strasbourg has been confirmed as the seat of the European Parliament, but most financial and legal European institutions also have their headquarters in Luxembourg.
European institutions established in Luxembourg
The city of Luxembourg is home to
- the Secretariat of the European Parliament;
- a Directorate-General and services of the European Commission, in particular the statistical office Eurostat and a large part of the translation service;
- the Court of Justice of the European Union, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal, with an Appeal Court for the European Unitary Patent due to take up residence in the near future;
- the European Court of Auditors;
- the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund;
- the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA);
- the Publications Office of the European Union, official publisher of the publications of the institutions of the EU and in particular of the Official Journal of the European Union, which contains legislation in the form of regulations, directives and decisions.
In April, June and October, the Council of the European Union holds its sessions in Luxembourg.
To secure the existence and functioning of the economic and monetary union, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) were created in 2010 and 2012 respectively, as bodies of the euro area member states. They are based in Luxembourg.
Some 11.000 international civil servants, many of which are Luxembourgers, are located in Luxembourg.
Two institutions of the European School of Luxembourg (EEL I and EEL II), created by the governments of the member states of the European Union, are intended primarily for children of the staff of the European institutions.