Brussels braced for expat influx
23 April 2004
BRUSSELS – Brussels is ready to cope with a huge influx of nearly 5,000 expatriates when 10 new countries join the European Union at the beginning of next month, the Prime Minister of Belgium’s Brussels region has promised.
Regional Prime Minister Jacques Simonet says the city has more than enough accommodation and office space to cope with the arrival of around 4,000 new eurocrats and 600 journalists.
Simonet has conceded however that Brussels will probably need to open a fourth European school to cope with the new arrivals and has asked the city authorities in the capital to begin building work as soon as possible.
The new expats come from the ten countries that will join the EU on 1 May – Cyprus, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
But while Simonet is confident that the self-styled capital of Europe will be able to absorb its new arrivals with no problems, some local residents’ organisations are not so sure.
Both the Brussels Council for the Environment (BCE) and local residents are worried that the imminent influx of expats could push up house prices and rents for local people.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news