On 29 April 2008, the European Commission held one of its regular seminars to reflect on the European agenda in a different environment from the official headquarters. The Members of the EC gathered in Val-Duchesse Castle in Brussels for talks primarily devoted to social issues, focussing on globalisation and the ways that Europe can maintain its social policy credentials in such a context. The debate took place ahead of the launch of the EU executive's renewed Social Agenda, set to be adopted before the summer break.
Val-Duchesse is a former priory which played an important role as a venue for negotiations in Belgian and European politics after World War II. In 1956, Paul-Henri Spaak lead the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom at the castle, which prepared the Treaties of Rome in 1957 and the foundation of the European Economic Community and Euratom in 1958. The first formal meeting of the Hallstein Commission, the first European Commission, under the presidency of Walter Hallstein, was held on 16 January 1958 at the castle.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.