EU quarter residents want the EC to help improve neighbourhood 
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EU quarter residents want the EC to help improve neighbourhood 

A new EU Commission tower will become the tallest building in Brussels. Credit: © EU, 2019. Project by RAFAEL DE LA-HOZ ARQUITECTOS & Perkins+Will UK Limited / perspective.brussels

Residents of the EU quarter in Brussels want the European Commission to step in and help improve the neighbourhood more often thought of as a work zone than a place people live.

In an open letter sent to President Ursula von der Leyen, the inhabitants and associations of the neighbourhood lament living in “endless construction sites,” calling for a meeting with the President to make a plan for the future.

“For 60 years now, we have been living under the influence of successive development plans, which have led to endless construction sites, in accordance with the changing needs of the European institutions,” the letter reads.

Despite the extensive work, these projects have never resulted in an improvement of the urban environment, nor in a better quality of dialogue between these institutions and the inhabitants of Brussels.

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One particular point of contention was the ‘One Tower’, for which they consider that the regulatory and legal basis on which it is built is particularly fragile. The new European Commission building is set to dethrone the Tour du Midi as the tallest building in Brussels, with construction for the new office buildings set to kick off in 2025.

“We are astonished by the contractual casualness of your services and the risks that this could pose with regard to the political responsibilities of the European Commission as well as the image of this institution in Brussels and well beyond our Region,” residents explain in the letter.

This is not the first time such a request has been filed to von der Leyen, with a meeting called for when she first took office. This however did not come to pass.

With this latest meeting, residents hope to exchange their points of view and to imagine together a more constructive dialogue with the Brussels territory and the European citizens who live there and have said they hope their request will be heard.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times