The ICRC delegation in Brussels

03-02-2014 Overview

The ICRC delegation in Brussels covers the European Union, NATO, certain European armed forces and Belgium. It also supports ICRC headquarters in its dialogue with the Council of Europe and the OSCE. The delegation's objective is to ensure that decision-makers in these bodies perceive the ICRC as the main reference point for neutral and independent humanitarian action.

The Belgian capital is home to the main institutions of the European Union (EU) – the Council of the EU, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission, the European Parliament – and to the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The European Union

The ICRC maintains a dialogue with EU institutions at all levels, focusing on the presidency, the EEAS, the Commission and people in charge of humanitarian affairs. The president of the ICRC and other senior staff pay regular visits to Brussels, bolstering the delegation's efforts to ensure that the EU understands and supports the ICRC's work and takes account of our concerns in such major operational contexts as Afghanistan, Mali, or Syria.

Our dialogue with these bodies also promotes international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles.  


The ICRC discusses a range of topics with NATO, including training, operations and legal matters – such as the role and relevance of IHL in NATO operations. We also provide expertise for training and briefing sessions on the application of IHL in conflicts such as Afghanistan.

Civil society and academia

As well as circulating information to its wide network, the delegation promotes humanitarian principles and action, together with IHL, at events in Brussels run by think-tanks, NGOs and other humanitarian organizations. Events co-organized with the College of Europe, among others, provide students, academics, and civil servants with an opportunity to learn more about IHL, humanitarian action and ICRC activities, and to debate current humanitarian challenges.

The Movement

The ICRC maintains regular contact with the Red Cross/EU Office in Brussels, to ensure consistent humanitarian diplomacy at the level of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The Belgian government

Dialogue with the Belgian government, which is a member of the ICRC Donor Support Group, focuses on the development and implementation of IHL, the promotion of humanitarian principles and the ICRC's work in major contexts.