The Brussels Pact (17 March 1948), also called the Treaty of Brussels or the Brussels Treaty, was initiated by five countries in Western Europe after World War II had weakened much of the military power of these countries. Its aim was to set out terms for economic, social and cultural cooperation, and especially, collective self-defence. The spirit and mandates of the Brussels Pact served as the basis for the establishment of the Western European Union, a defence union similar to NATO but excluding USA and Canada.
However over time, the area of defence was succeeded by the North Atlantic Treaty 1949, which was the basis for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). NATO currently has its headquarters in Brussels. The Western European Union, established after the Brussels Pact may be absorbed into the European Union, which has expanded its role to include defence and peacekeeping of Europe.
Today, through such initiatives as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) the European Union is becoming a uniting force within Europe. Brussels has become recognised as the Capital of Europe, where important European institutions are based permanently in the European Quarters and all summits are held each year.