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The European Commission shrinks its office space

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In a statement by the European Commission on Monday (29 April) it would raise an estimated €900 million by selling some of its buildings as it seeks to shrink its office space by a quarter.

The Commission and Belgium have finalised an agreement whereby the Federal Holding and Investment Company (SFPIM), the ‘Belgian Sovereign Wealth Fund’, buys 23 buildings from the Commission for an amount of €900 million. This operation will allow a transformation of the European quarter into a modern, attractive and greener area where office buildings co-exist harmoniously with dwellings, retail and leisure.

A win-win deal for the European quarter

This sale will play a significant part in the Commission’s efforts to reduce its office surface by 25% by 2030, thereby modernising and greening its real estate, and reducing its carbon footprint. This would also create economies of scale by regrouping staff in fewer, larger and more energy efficient buildings. Moreover, replacing older buildings by modern and flexible offices also increases the attractiveness of the Commission as an employer and align its office needs with the new hybrid way of working.  

In parallel, the SFPIM and the Brussels Capital-Region are in the process of revalorising the main assets of the European quarter and introducing a wider variety of uses, with more housing and community-based services. The purchase of 23 buildings allows Belgium and Brussels to take an important step forward in the redevelopment of the area and the implementation of the shared vision of a European neighbourhood that besides offices and housing also advocates relaxing public spaces with more vegetation and more space for active mobility. It will make the district more visible in the cultural, institutional and residential landscape of the Capital.

SFPIM will integrate into its portfolio these buildings. They will be renovated to become more sustainable and will be brought back to the market for mixed allocation (businesses, housing, services).

Finally, this sale meets the ambition of the Federal government to continue to host the European Institutions, to anchor them in Brussels and to make Brussels the even more international, modern and green capital of Belgium.

In its buildings policy, the Commission aims to use each square metre more intelligently (to reduce the number of square metre and buildings needed) and make each square metre greener, through the following main actions:

  • strategically choosing energy-efficient buildings whenever available, giving up old energy-intensive buildings.
  • gradually renovating the existing building stock to the latest standards, where appropriate.
  • continuing to reduce electricity, gas and water consumption through systematic technical improvements, including renovation, and behavioural changes such as reducing or stopping heating at certain times.
  • ensuring that more sustainable energy sources and technologies to run offices are used wherever possible.

EU Briefs publie des articles provenant de diverses sources extérieures qui expriment un large éventail de points de vue. Les positions prises dans ces articles ne sont pas nécessairement celles d'EU Briefs.

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