"240,000 more Brussels residents in 10 years' time"

According to a new study, the population in Brussels will grow with 240,000 people in the next ten years. That's a lot more than previous estimations, which were talking about 200,000. "We can deal with this, if we meet a number of challenges", says the Brussels Minister Benoît Cerexhe.

No other region in Europe is expected to see such a sharp increase in the number of residents. The news means that an estimated 190,000 job seekers will enter the job market, especially young people.

The Brussels region created almost 18,000 new jobs last year, but this will not be sufficient, warns the Brussels Employment Minister Benoît Cerexhe (Francophone Christian democrat, photo). "We have to do better than the past years and create more jobs in Brussels." Mr Cerexhe sets an aim of 20,000 per year.

Many newcomers will be immigrants. This confirms the need for good training and coaching. "Language skills for example will be crucial in an international city like Brussels", Mr Cerexhe explains.

According to the minister, it is possible to deal with the surge in the number of inhabitants, as federal negotiators have reached a deal on fresh cash for Brussels.

"Mobility and education are major challenges"

Brussels employers are also seeing a number of challenges. It won't be easy to provide new jobs for everyone. Mobility is a crucial factor, which means that subway services and connections have to improve, they say.

Another issue is education. Brussels schools should step up efforts to improve their standards, says Olivier Willockx representing the Brussels employers. "The education should be oriented more towards the practical needs of the businesses. And Dutch courses should become obligatory, which is now not always the case."