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President Cordeiro visits Walloon projects financed by European funds: "Cities and regions are making Europe a reality"  

The President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Vasco Alves Cordeiro, and the Minister-President of Wallonia, Elio Di Rupo, visited two projects in Mons and Charleroi co-financed by European structural funds in order to showcase the impact of European cohesion policy on the daily lives of citizens.

A renovation project of two squares in Mons and the new University campus in Charleroi were visited today by the President of the CoR Vasco Alves Cordeiro together with the Minister-President Di Rupo and in the presence of the Mayor of Charleroi Paul Magnette. The two projects, both co-financed by European cohesion policy funds, were chosen as concrete examples of economic development brought by cohesion policy to EU citizens.

President Cordeiro said: "This visit demonstrates the importance and role of regions and cities: without regions and cities, the gap between ambitions for development and progress and reality would be much wider. As we reflect on the future of cohesion policy at European level, I urge all politicians to come here. This is Europe, this is cohesion policy in action. Cities and regions are making Europe a reality in every community. I would like to congratulate Minister-President Elio Di Rupo, as well as the Mayor of Charleroi, Paul Magnette, and Secretary of State Thomas Dermine, for their vision and ambition for their cities and region, but also for their commitment to consolidate the values of the European project."

Minister-President Di Rupo, who is also member of the CoR, stated: "These visits have made it possible to demonstrate that European funds allow the creation of concrete projects that meet local needs, while at the same time being in line with the major objectives of the European Union. I insist that regions and cities must be better taken into consideration in the implementation of European policies. Local and regional authorities are close to the citizens and are the best placed to understand and respond to their needs."

Mr Cordeiro's official visit to Wallonia ended with a visit to the Parliament of Wallonia with its President André Frédéric and a working meeting in the presence of Minister-President Di Rupo and the Vice-President of the Walloon Government, and CoR member, Willy Borsus.

Together with the leading European associations of cities and regions, the CoR is a founding partner of the #CohesionAlliance, whose mission is to affirm cohesion as a fundamental value of the European Union and a key objective for all its policies and investment. The Region of Wallonia joined the #CohesionAlliance in 2018.

About the projects:

Mons - President Cordeiro and Minister-President Di Rupo visited, in the presence of the municipal authorities, the two squares located on either side of the new Mons' train station: Place Léopold and Place du Congrès. These two squares are currently being renovated thanks to European funding under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020 programme. These works include the renovation and development of the two squares, as well as the adjacent sections, the creation of an urban park, the renovation of the Avenue des Bassins and the Chemin de l'Inquiétude, as well as the renovation of the footbridge on the Avenue des Bassins. The work should be completed in 2023.

The total cost of this project is around 20 million​, of which 8 million euros from the ERDF and 10 million from Wallonia. The City of Mons is taking on the remaining balance.

Charleroi - In the presence of Mayor Paul Magnette, Secretary of State for the Recovery Thomas Dermine, and other municipal and provincial authorities, President Cordeiro and Minister-President Di Rupo visited the Charleroi university campus, and in particular the Zénobe Gramme University Centre building. The aim of this university campus is to develop a centre of activity in the field of training, scientific research and awareness of technical and scientific professions. Inaugurated in 1911 on the occasion of the Charleroi International Exhibition, the Zenobe Gramme building is currently being renovated. The work should make it possible to restore the spaces and façades, to improve its energy efficiency, to modernise all of the building's special techniques and to equip it with the equipment necessary for its future educational or research missions.

The renovation of the Zenobe Gramme building, which is partially classified, required an investment of nearly 22 million euros, of which 9 million were financed through the ERDF, 11 million by Wallonia and 2 million by the University Centre.

Contact:
Monica Tiberi – Spokesperson of the President
Tel: +32 479 51 74 43
monica.tiberi@cor.europa.eu


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