Sunday

24th Mar 2019

Brussels to give Schuman square a makeover

  • Smet: 'The Schuman roundabout should be a meeting place.' It is currently a traffic hub (Photo: Valentina Pop)

A central square in the neighbourhood that hosts many of the EU's institutions in Brussels is due for a makeover, with a call for proposals expected before the end of the month, a spokesperson for the regional government of Brussels told this website.

The authorities want to give the Robert Schuman square “an urban character,” said Pascal Smet, minister of public works for the regional government of Brussels in a recent press release.

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“The Schuman roundabout should be a meeting place where Brusselsers and civil servants from the European institutions can meet each other,” added Smet, according to the Dutch version of the press release.

A French version also quoted him saying “urban life” should return to the square “day and night.”

Robert Schuman roundabout, named after one of the EU's founding fathers, is surrounded by office buildings, including ones which belong to the European Commission, the Council (which represents national governments and hosts leaders’ summits) and the European External Action Service (the EU's diplomatic corps).

It’s a traffic-intensive roundabout, which has a small square in the middle that has a handful of benches surrounded by bushes.

Some people can be seen here during lunch breaks, but the heavy car traffic surrounding makes it a less pleasant get-away.

The roundabout is a traffic hub in the main route to the EU neighbourhood's main artery, the Rue de la Loi, but also for those coming from outside of Brussels on their way to other parts of the Belgian capital.

At the end of November, the Brussels government decided to “redevelop” the square.

The 120 metres of the Rue de la Loi between the square and the Parc du Cinquantaire will become a pedestrianized zone “with lots of green.”

The earlier press release, published 27 November, noted that the traffic flow from Avenue de Cortenbergh to Rue de la Loi, and from Rue Froissart to Avenue d'Auderghem, will remain the same. That means it is unlikely that the volume of car traffic will be reduced.

The government will also launch a study to see if bus routes that pass the roundabout can be changed “to unburden certain densely populated streets in the area”.

The square will feature a new piece of art that acknowledges the presence of the EU institutions, minister Smet noted.

Brussels will devote €7.8 million to the project, which is due to start in 2017. A spokesperson told this website that the procurement process has been started, but that the call for proposals has not yet been published online - this is expected before the end of December.

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