As a founder member of the European Union, the Grand Duchy has a key role to play in the process of European unification. Located in the heart of Western Europe, the Grand Duchy offers the advantages of its multilingualism, quality of life, and ease of access. Luxembourg City, home to European institutions since 1952, is one of the three institutional seats of the European Union.
Short historical excursion
The night of the 24th to 25th July 1952 was to enter into the history books. After 18 hours of talks, Joseph Bech, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign Affairs, suggested that the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) 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.
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. In April, June and October, the Council of the European Union held its sessions in the Grand Duchy.
European institutions established in Luxembourg
Luxembourg is now home to a large number of European institutions, agencies and bodies, including, in particular:
- the Secretariat General of the European Parliament;
- theEuropean Commission, with entities from many Directorates-General;
- thePublications Office of the European Union (PO);
- the Court of Justice of the European Union
- the European Court of Auditors;
- the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF);
- the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF);
- the European Stability Mechanism (ESM);
- theTranslation Centre(CDT);
- the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA)
- the EuroHPC.
In 2017 the Council of the EU also gave the green light to the creation of a European Prosecutor to fight fraud, to be located in the Grand Duchy; the body should begin to operate in November 2020.
European institution buildings on the Kirchberg plateau
Most of the European institutions present in the Grand Duchy are located in the 'European quarter' on the Kirchberg plateau. They employ over 10,000 people from every part of the European Union. With its rich and varied architecture, the Kirchberg plateau is in constant flux; indeed it is to provide a home for new European institutions in the near future.
The 'Porte de l'Europe'
Visitors arriving from the city centre pass through the Porte de l'Europe, a gateway to the Kirchberg plateau.
In addition to the imposing two towers framing the Avenue John F. Kennedy, the 'Porte de l'Europe' also includes the Place de l'Europe, the centre of the European quarter lined with notable buildings including the Alcide de Gasperi Tower and the headquarters of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Most of the European institutions' buildings are located more or less close to the Porte de l'Europe.
The Alcide de Gasperi Tower (European Council)
The Alcide de Gasperi Tower was inaugurated in 1966 and was the first building specifically built in the Grand Duchy to meet the requirements of the European institutions. It was the first high-rise building in the Grand Duchy, hence its nickname of the 'Skyscraper' (Héichhaus in Luxembourgish).
While the upper floors currently house the offices of various ministries, the lower section is now part of the European Conference Centre Luxembourg (ECCL), where the European Union's ministerial meetings are held in April, June and October.
The 'Palais' and the 'Twin Towers' ( Court of Justice of the European Union)
The judicial institutions of the European Union have been located in Luxembourg City ever since their creation in 1952. After occupying various buildings in the city centre, the services of the Court of Justice of the European Union have been located on the Kirchberg plateau since 1973.
The 'Palais de la Cour', seat of judicial institutions, was expanded several times before being integrated into the 'Twin Towers'.
A third tower was added in 2019.
The 'Jean Monnet' buildings ( European Commission)
The administrative services of the European Commission are housed in the Grand Duchy. From 1975 onwards, these services shared the Jean Monnet building with other European institutions including the Translation Centre and the statistics service Eurostat.
However, the building no longer meets operational requirements, and is currently under deconstruction; the various services are in substitute accommodation. The future Jean Monnet II building, for which construction work began in the spring of 2018, will offer almost twice the area - more than 190,000m2 - to accommodate more than 3,600 employees.
The 'Robert Schuman' and 'Konrad Adenauer' buildings (European Parliament)
The Hemicycle in the 'Robert Schuman' building, built between 1970 and 1973, was the first seat of the European Parliament when it was instituted in 1979, before being moved to Strasbourg definitively two years later. The 'hemicycle' is now part of the European Conference Centre Luxembourg
The European Parliament is still present on the Kirchberg plateau, which is home to part of its General Secretariat. The Konrad Adenauer Building, the central headquarters of the Secretariat, is currently being refurbished and extended; the work is scheduled for completion in 2021.
The financial institutions of the European Union
The main financial institutions of the European Union are also located in the Grand Duchy.
The European Investment Bank, an important financial institution in the European Union's system, has its main headquarters on the Kirchberg plateau. The main building, which was built in 1980, was extended several times and for the last time in 2009.
The Kirchberg is also home to the European Court of Auditors - the financial supervisory body of the EU - and the European Stability Mechanism, that was established following the 2008-2009 economic crisis.