- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Covid recovery fund will not be spent on renovating Justice Palace
The Brussels government has agreed on the projects for the Plan for Recovery and Resilience (PRR), which are intended to make Brussels, its economy and its inhabitants more resilient to the social, economic and climate challenges that have been exacerbated by the health crisis.
In January, the Brussels government had drawn up a series of priority proposals for a total amount of €527 million, or 130% of the budget allocated to the Brussels region under the European Corona Recovery Fund (ECRF). After consultation, the government made a final selection within the allocated envelope of €395 million.
This selection was based on criteria such as the extent to which the projects contribute to green and digital objectives, their economic and social impact and the fact that they must be fully developed and completed by August 2026.
The sustainability projects include the renovation of buildings with grants and the Reno and Renolab projects, and renovation of social housing. The digital objectives include digitalising processes used by citizens and businesses, the regional data exchange platform and "AI for the Common Good".
The following projects were selected in the mobility section: Fiets PLUS, electric buses and depots for the Stib, the accelerated roll-out of MaaS (mobility as a service) tools, SmartMobility, and the stimulation of mobility with zero emissions.
The Brussels government decided to include these projects in the long-term budget. In addition, the following projects are also fully funded: the recapitalisation of financeinvest.brussels for an amount of €87.4 million; the expansion of mental health services for an amount of €15 million; and the creation of reception facilities for the vulnerable.
Belgium wanted to finance part of the renovation of the Justice Palace with €60 million of the ECRF funds. "As well as removing the scaffolding, it should make it possible to complete the renovation of the front facade and the base of the dome," said Mathieu Michel, secretary of state in charge of the Buildings Authority.
But when the spending agreement was concluded, this component was not submitted. Three projects were left out: the 100% scanning project for high-risk containers at the port of Antwerp (€70 million), the construction by the army of two future districts (€100 million) and the renovation of various sites such as the Cinquantenaire, the Royal Palace and the Brussels courthouse.
"But these projects remain a priority for the government," insisted a federal source.