You can find below an informal account of the last Core Group* meeting which took place on 12 March.
The Building Authority advised that a construction permit was received and works on the Evere site started this week (photographs were presented). The schedule for the delivery of the works for the school site remains tight. The Constitutional Court judgement of 23 January led to three weeks delay, until new parking arrangements could be considered.
The Task Force set up under the PM's Cabinet works endlessly supervising the progress at the Evere site and analysing future planning. The Commission is preparing data of enrolments which will demonstrate, inter-alia, the percentage of EU staff eligible for schooling (Category I). This information was considered necessary by the Belgian authorities for long-term planning purposes.
In the discussion, we stressed, inter-alia, parental preference for a full-scale 5th School (supported clearly by three Brussels APEEEs) and urged the host country to fix a final date, not only for the opening of the (permanent) 5th school but also for considering all other options, including the possible use of infrastructure close to the Berkendael site (to be used possibly as a 6th school by the end of this decade). We also expressed the parental concerns arising from the NL, EN and DE sections as regards their future configuration, as they are located on multiple sites.
A projection of infrastructure needs up to 2032 was presented during the meeting. The most optimistic scenario confirms that enrolments for the two years from September 2025 to September 2027 are going to be critical, even if both the temporary sites in Evere and Berkendael remain at the disposal of European schools.
At this stage, there is no contingency planning for Evere, if the project is not concluded on time. A Core Group is likely to be convened in April before the Board of Governors. We advised participants about our meeting with the Local Staff Committee on 9 March, when the OIB infrastructure at Palmerstone and Philippe Le Bon was mentioned as a potential contingency for September 2021.
Finally, the Building Authority confirmed its readiness to analyse the needs of all schools (list of priorities are to be cross-checked against the available human resources and their focus on the Evere site) and plan a limited number of projects in all other schools by the end of 2022.
*The European Schools' Groupe de Suivi or “Steering Committee” (composed of representatives from the Office of the Secretary-General of the European schools, the Presidents of the Parents' Associations in Brussels, teachers' and students' representatives, the European Commission, the Belgian Government and the Building Authority (Régie des Bâtiments). Since December 2020, the Steering Committee convenes in two formats, namely its Core Group (where only a reduced participation of all stakeholders is possible) and the Plenary.
The Steering Committee is competent for all infrastructure-related issues of European Schools in Brussels. It is not competent for the examination of the annual enrolment guidelines, which are prepared by the Central Enrolment Authority (CEA / ACI) and adopted by the Board of Governors.