Brussels, 5 September 2007
Its fifty candles barely blown out, the European Quarter will soon be given a makeover by the Brussels-Capital Region and the European Commission. On the same day that the Commission adopted its broad building policy guidelines the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Administrative Affairs, Siim Kallas, and the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, Charles Picqué, jointly unveiled the main outlines of the new master plan which will change the face of this Quarter.
Covering an area of 865 000 m² in Brussels with 61 buildings, the European Commission has chosen to rationalise both its building location and the way it manages its real estate. With respect to locations, the decentralisation of some services initiated several years ago is confirmed: alongside the European Quarter as the main location for its activities, a maximum of three areas beyond the Quarter will thus gradually be developed.
Vice-President Kallas stated "Agreement among our institutions on far-reaching redevelopment of the European Quarter marks a historic moment: one in which we turn our back on the image of a lifeless, unassimilated administrative ghetto which still clings to the European Quarter".
Prime Minister Picqué, responsible for urban planning within the Brussels Government, made clear the thrust of this new international development plan for Brussels: "The master plan aims at making the European Quarter a truly mixed neighbourhood, bringing together a centre of European and international activity, a diversified residential area and a cultural and recreation centre accessible to all.
The joint programme may be summed up by two key figures: 400 000 m² for the European Commission on both sides of the rue de la Loi and approximately 180 000 m² for housing throughout the European Quarter.
It is fully consistent with the overall buildings policy of the European Commission[∗], which seeks to consolidate its services within fewer office buildings of at least 50 to 100 000 m², to expand its acquisitions and observe the guiding principles concerning the architectural value and integrity of the buildings, security, work environment and social welfare facilities. The Commission carbon footprint reduction strategy is an integral part of the programme through the control of CO2 emissions from buildings, optimisation of links with public transport and improved coordination of building management.
In the area of exploring the real estate market, the European Commission is also introducing several important innovations in its new real estate policy in order to obtain better value for the money spent on real estate:
[∗] both in Brussels and in Luxembourg