Brussels, 12 December 2001
Urban II Programme: the European Union contributes EURO 7 million to the urban development of the Brussels-Capital region
Mr Michel Barnier, the Member of the Commission responsible for regional policy, announced approval by the European Commission of an urban regeneration programme for the Brussels-Capital region. This programme, under the Urban Community Initiative(1) includes part-financing worth €7 million by the European Union for the period 2000-06. A further contribution by the public sector of €8 million will bring the total to €15 million. Priorities include training, improving the physical environment and a number of measures to promote the integration of disadvantaged groups, in particular into the labour market.
Announcing this decision, Mr Barnier remarked that Urban programmes allowed a creative and innovative approach to urban regeneration while mobilising a local partnership at all the levels of the decision-making process. He completely approved the priorities of the programme, namely social integration, training and the renewal of the commercial infrastructure and the physical environment, and was convinced that this programme would make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in the Brussels-Capital region.
The programme for the Brussels-Capital region concerns districts around the Brussels-South station in three municipalities,(2) a total of 24 413 people. The features of this area are a high urban density, industrial waste lands and a lack of green areas. Its economic and social situation is marked by high unemployment, poor education and a sizeable immigrant population.
However, it also has genuine assets for use in development, in particular accessibility, thanks to the Brussels-South station, a sector which is developing strongly around the station and a culturally and linguistically diverse population.
The programme will tackle these problems through two main priorities.
Promoting integrated operations for urban revitalisation
This involves restoring industrial waste lands in a sustainable way and providing facilities for collective use (Community contribution: €4.3 million).
Restoring social cohesion in the areas
This involves providing training and vocational skills, creating multimedia centres and increasing the involvement of inhabitants in associations and their participation in urban revitalisation projects (€2.6 million)
An additional €200 000 will provide finance for technical assistance.
Like all the Urban programmes, this programme will be financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under Mr Barnier's responsibility.
The Urban Community Initiative aims to foster "the economic and social regeneration of cities and of urban neighbourhoods in crisis with a view to promoting a sustainable development". The second cycle of Urban ("Urban II") will cover the period 2000-06 and provide assistance to 70 disadvantaged urban areas throughout the EU. Total financing by the EU alone will total €728.3 million and this should attract resources of at least an equal amount from the public and private sectors.
Urban II has specific features. It includes innovative models for urban regeneration and stresses partnership and the participation of local people. Exchanges of information and of experiments in sustainable urban development will also take place throughout the European Union.
Urban II is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Funds will be available for initiatives such as the modernisation of buildings and public spaces, local initiatives as regards employment, the improvement of education services and training for disadvantaged groups, the development of environmentally-friendly public transport systems and the introduction of more effective systems of managing energy and using renewable energy. This also involves harnessing the development potential of the information society technologies.
The Commission adopts the programmes through a partnership which includes local groups and authorities. These programmes cover the whole period 2000-06 and local people are involved at all the stages of the process.
The managing authority is the Brussels-Capital region. Day-to day management is the responsibility of:
Mr François Perl
Cellule Revitalisation des quartiers / fonds structurels
Cabinet du Ministre Eric Tomas
Boulevard du Régent 21-23
B - 1000 Brussels
Tel. (+ 32) 02 506 33 62
Fax. (+ 32) 02 513 50 80
For more information, please consult memo/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or the following sites:
The European Commission: http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/Urban/
Region of Brussels-Capital: http://www.bruxelles.irisnet.be/
(1)See the description of Urban II below.
(2)Anderlecht, Saint-Gilles, Forest.