Brussels First Minister to meet with EU Commissioner to discuss Commission’s office plans

The First Minister of the Brussels-Capital Region Rudi Vervoort (Francophone socialist, photo above) is to meet with the European Commissioner responsible for (amongst other things) the EU’s administration Johannes Hahn to discuss the European Commission’s future real estate strategy. The meeting will take place on 25 May.

Mr Vervoort announced that he and Mr Hahn will meet late next month in a reply to questions in the Brussels Regional Parliament from the Flemish Green regional MP Soetkin Hoessen and the Francophone far-left regional MP Françoise De Smedt. In addition to Mr Vervoort, the Brussels regional minister responsible for European relations Sven Gatz (Flemish liberal) and the Brussels regional goverments’ representative at the European Union Alain Hutchinson (Francophone socialist) will also take part in the meeting.

Mr Vervoort says that reports earlier this week that the European Commission intends to cut the number of office building that it occupies in Brussels by 50% “should be taken with a pinch of salt”.

Earlier this week it was reported that by 2030 the European Commission will have left around half of the buildings it currently occupies and will concentrate its office facilities around two hubs: the area around the Schuman Square and the area around the Rogier Square on the edge of Brussels City Centre. Offices in Evere, Elsene and Oudegem would all be vacated.

Since the onset of the corona crisis 80% tele-work has become the norm for civil servants working at the European institutions. The European Commission has plans to make teleworking a permanent part of EU civil servants’ working lives. However, Mr Vervoort says that he understands that that those that work for the European Commission will work 40% from home and still spend 60% of their working time at the office. “This means that as far as I can see the continued existence of offices in town isn’t under threat, as some seem to have concluded”.   

He added that even before the coronavirus crisis the European Commission had announced that it planned to move its translation service from Evere to a new location near to Brussels North Station. 

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