Regional representations

Regional representations in Brussels

The first regional offices were opened in 1984, when European regions and local authorities realised that it could be useful to lobby for their interests in Brussels. Since then, hundreds of offices have been set up with different objective and internal structures.

Some, such as the representations of the German Länder, see their role as a political one. They act almost like embassies, representing their regions as distinct political entities. They are powerful bodies operating with a sizeable budget, imposing office buildings and a large staff. On the other hand, regional representations from more centralised countries represent authorities with limited political and financial independence. The primary concern of these small offices is obtaining EU funding for projects in their region, often in partnership with the private sector.

Although the regional representations are informal bodies in diplomatic terms, they are recognised as important stakeholders and consultative bodies by the European Union. Regional and local authorities interact with all EU institutions, but they also enjoy formal representation through the Committee of the Regions. This is an advisory body established by the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht to represent subnational, regional and local actors within the EU. Its seat is here in the European Quarter of Brussels.

The regional certificate

The regional certificate is an official document issued by the government of the Brussels-Capital Region. It accredits the regional representation as the official representation of a city, region or other public body on Brussels territory, and establishes its status towards the Region. The regional certificate can help offices to deal with municipal and regional administrations and service providers in general, as the lack of a clear diplomatic and administrative status can otherwise create difficulties. The Secretary of State for External Relations is responsible for issuing this certificate, which is valid for two years.

To obtain the certificate, new representative offices can send a request to:

Ms Ans PERSOONS, Brussels Secretary of State for External Relations

Boulevard du Roi Albert II 37

1030 Schaerbeek

The request should be on the official letterhead paper of the public entity and mention the following information:

  • Name of the person who is appointed as director of the representation
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Website

The application should be accompanied by supporting documents as evidence of the legitimacy of the office. These could include the statutes of the organisation, a mission statement, a copy of the legal document setting up the representation or, if possible, copies of relevant parliamentary reports.

The team at will examine the application and advise the Secretary of State on the matter. We are also in charge of the update of all certificates every two years as well as other updates on demand.

Contact person: