Our city partners
The decision was made to concentrate funds on the five largest cities in the country when the Federal Urban Policy was started in 1999. This prevented too much burden on available funds and maximized effectiveness of the action for reviving the cities.
Contribution from the Federal Government was therefore limited in the financial year 2000 to the large municipal centres with over 150,000 inhabitants: Antwerp, Ghent, Liège, Charleroi and the Brussels metropolitan area. In Brussels, only seven municipalities are considered with neighbourhoods recognized by the European Objective 2 Programme, in particular, Brussels City, Anderlecht, St. Gilles, St. Joost-ten-Node, St. Jans-Molenbeek, Schaarbeek and Forest (Royal Decree of 12 August 2000).
More funds were made available in the financial year 2001 firstly to maintain the contribution to the eleven cities/municipalities and secondly to also subsidize projects in some additional cities. Socio-economic criteria were also considered in appointing these new cities: only cities with 60,000 inhabitants of whom at least 10% live in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and of whom the income per inhabitant is lower that the national average can be considered. The disadvantaged neighbours can be found in the study “Sociale structuren en buurten in moeilijkheden” [Social structures and neighbourhoods in difficulties] by ISEG van de KUL (Prof. C. Kesteloot) and IGEAT from the ULB (Prof. C. Vandermotten). Mons, La Louvière, Seraing and Ostend were added to the list based on these criteria. (Royal Decree of 26 September 2001)
Since 2005, these cities have not just enjoyed Federal support via city contracts. A housing programme was also started this year. The city- and housing contracts run for three years from 2005. As well as the 15 cities with which city contracts have already been concluded, housing contracts have also been concluded with the cities of Mechelen and St. Niklaas.