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Brussels government outlines targets for last two years of legislature: increased climate goals

Brussels region Minister-President Rudi Vervoort pictured during the presentation of the priorities for the second half of the legislature by the entire Brussels government, in Brussels, Thursday 28 April 2022. (BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ)
05:53 29/04/2022

At a press conference at the Brussels Information Point (BIP) on Thursday, the entire Brussels government gave an overview of its work since 2019, and also set out its priorities for the second half of its term of office, Bruzz reports.

"Barely half a year after this government took office, the health crisis broke out," said prime minister Rudi Vervoort (PS), who gave the overview. The Brussels Region released more than a billion euros to deal with the impact of this pandemic, and was then confronted with unexpected new demands, such as the flow of refugees from Ukraine.

Vervoort then discussed the priorities for the coming years. The Brussels government officially confirmed that it will adjust its climate targets to those set by the European Commission for Belgium last year: 47% less greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 compared to 2005, instead of 40% less as the government had included in its policy statement.

No more subsidies for gas boilers from 2023

For this, fossil fuels must be phased out more quickly. Anyone who wants to install a gas boiler will no longer receive a subsidy for this from next year. From 2025, heating on fossil fuels will no longer be allowed in new or radically renovated homes.

From 2030, fuel oil boilers in government buildings will be prohibited. This will apply to everyone from 2035. In the coming years, the government will also establish a framework for the gradual introduction of an obligation to renovate all buildings by 2050, starting with the most energy-consuming ones.

In the area of housing, Brussels residents who buy a first home will have to pay less registration fees, with additional support if the home is made more energy efficient after purchase. There will also be a ban on evictions over the winter months, among other measures.

In terms of employment, the mismatch between jobseekers and offers will be addressed: 60% of jobs require a post-secondary diploma, while 64% of jobseekers do not have one. Jobseekers will be obliged to have a 'competence balance' drawn up and to follow an adapted training programme.

Aim to reduce social inequality

The government also announced that there will be an integrated 'welfare and health plan' to reduce social inequalities. During the pandemic, it has become clear how heavily unequal access to health care weighs on the health of Brussels residents. Primary care must therefore be expanded.

The regional urban planning ordinance, called 'Good Living', will be in place before this summer and will then go into public scrutiny later this year. This determines the urban planning rules, such as the height or choice of materials, with which buildings and streets must comply.

As far as mobility is concerned, the 'corona cycle paths' will be retained, and the government will continue to support the construction of Metro 3.

Culture and leisure plans

In 2023, the year of Art Nouveau will be celebrated in Brussels, and in 2024, Kanal – the Centre Pompidou museum for modern and contemporary art – will open. The government confirmed that it is looking for private partners to quickly build an outdoor swimming pool on the roof of Manufakture, on the grounds of Abattoir in Anderlecht. This would create "a new regional attraction in Curegem".

But a number of important decisions have not yet been made, even though they were in the coalition agreement.

For example, there is still no unanimity on some of the 12 planned ‘Master Plans of Construction’ urban renewal projects, including that for the Josaphat site. The prime minister said "that work is continuing on this". Also Smart Move, the smart kilometre charge that should have been introduced during this legislature, was not mentioned. 

Written by Nick Amies