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Schaerbeek plaide pour que la Commission Européenne s'étende sur le Site de la Gare de Josaphat

Commission told: you are not welcome here

By Tim King
07.04.2011 / 05:10 CET
Debate highlights tensions between the EU and local governments, with local mayor voicing opposition to Commission plans to develop Delta site.
The European Commission's ambition to develop new offices in the Delta area of Brussels came under fierce attack from the local mayor at a conference organised by European Voice last week.

Didier Gosuin, the mayor of Auderghem, said that he did not want the Commission to increase its presence in the area and that the proposed development would not be beneficial to the local community. He complained that the Brussels regional government, which owns the land and is the main planning authority, had not been in touch with him, even though it has declared publicly that it is negotiating with the Commission over a possible development.

Bernard Clerfayt, the mayor of Schaerbeek, said that the Commission should be looking instead to develop a site beside the railway sidings at Schaerbeek station.

Marie-Laure Roggemans, the delegate of the Brussels regional government in charge of the development of the EU district, said that Charles Picqué, the head of the Brussels regional government had “a personal preference” for the Schaerbeek site, but she confirmed that the government was pursuing negotiations with the Commission about the Delta site.

She said that the Commission's own preference was for the Delta site and the region should take account of the Commission's wishes. She said that a decision from the Commission might be forthcoming in June.

Gabor Zupko, the director-general of the Commission's office for infrastructure and logistics in Brussels, said that the Commission had published a call for offers and could only choose from what was offered.

He said the Delta site was attractive because the transport links were good and the Commission already had a considerable presence at nearby Beaulieu.

But Gosuin, who, like Clerfayt, is from the francophone liberals, the MR-FDF, accused the socialist-led regional government of having paid too much to buy the Delta site from the SNCB, the Belgian railway company. He said that the region was obliged to court the Commission as the only hope of making the investment financially viable.

Bigger problems

Clerfayt questioned why the region was negotiating over Delta when Picqué's preference was for Schaerbeek. Gosuin said that the greatest problem facing his area was the management of the E411 motorway to reduce the traffic entering Brussels.

The debate was part of a conference held on 31 March, entitled “Capital of Europe: how the EU is shaping Brussels – and vice versa”.

The participants also discussed the future development of Brussels's EU quarter, around the Rond-Point Schuman.

Zupko said that the Commission had committed itself four years ago to “a multi-pole approach, based on re-developing the European quarter as the main site of Commission activity, together with up to three large poles outside it”.

Roggemans said that the region was working with property companies and others on the legal and technical specifications for redeveloping the area along rue de la Loi. But members of the audience expressed doubts about the Projet Urbain Loi, questioning the heights of some of the buildings envisaged and how it might be integrated with the surrounding areas.

Conférence European Voice avec Clerfayt & Gosuin
Conférence European Voice avec Clerfayt & Gosuin
Site de la Gare Josaphat sur Google
Site de la Gare Josaphat sur Google


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