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Feder funds in action in Molenbeek

There is much talk of projects which receive funding from the European ‘Feder’ regional development fund. On Tuesday morning, a presentation was made in Molenbeek which showed a concrete example of such a project, and the way in which it helps society at large.

The project in question is the ‘Belvue’ development on the canal-bank, and to present its advantages, not only was Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort present, but he was even playing second fiddle to an even more illustrious speaker, European Commissioner for regional policy, Corina Cretu. The event was billed as an ‘Official visit’ by the Commissioner to Molenbeek.

First of all, a look at the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the Belvue project. The Belvue Hotel is a hotel which operates as a normal hotel with 29 rooms, but also, most importantly, as a hotel training school for young people (principally from the commune), who wish to enter the world of horeca. Alongside the hotel, 15 apartments have also been created. Also here is the Mereinger hotel, and the modern art museum. All of this is on the site of the former BelleVue brewery, which had been completely vacant since 2006. The total surface area involved is 5,800 m² and the total investment over 10 million Euros (not including the Mereinger hotel or museum).

Rudi Vervoort pointed out the vital role played by private capital as well as Feder funds, and said that the objectives of the fund were largely being met in this zone. He also said that the canal zone, a Brussels priority zone, is now very clearly in operational mode.

As is being pointed out by more and more players within the real estate world, however, it is no longer about bricks and mortar alone. Buildings are for people. Commissioner Cretu spoke of the EU’s attempts to achieve better migrant integration, for example, and Mécins du Monde, who have also benefited from EU funding in the zone, explained how they are trying to make medical care for all, simpler. Art2work, helping educationally disadvantaged young people to find work, is also here.

The media bashing which Molenbeek took after the Paris terrorist attacks are clearly still in people’s minds, and the commune’s mayor, Françoise Schepmans, was delighted to see her commune receiving positive assistance and positive publicity. On the same subject, and now that we have departed from the ‘bricks and mortar’, ‘Proud to be from Molenbeek’ actor Aboubakr Bensaihi, star of the film ‘Black’ and currently starring in a Flemish TV series, told of his past, and of how he was had been confused, like so many others, by the diverging media reports about Molenbeek.

Left to right: Aboubakr Bensaihi, Rudi Vervoort, Corina Cretu and Françoise Schepmans
Left to right: Aboubakr Bensaihi, Rudi Vervoort, Corina Cretu and Françoise Schepmans

| 06/06/2017

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