"This centre presents an exceptional opportunity for the Brussels Region. First of all, in terms of timing, as it will have to start its activities as soon as possible, as early as 2021 according to the Commission's wishes. Then in terms of employment, as it will host 30 to 50 experts, with growth prospects of up to 80 full-time employees by 2023-2024. Not counting the external support staff usual in this type of organisation. The creation of this centre in Brussels could have a very favourable effect on the ecosystem of cybersecurity-related businesses in our Region, a very promising sector in terms of activities and job creation", says Minister-President Rudi Vervoort.
The Belgian State's interest in hosting this new institution was made official with the European institutions on 4 June. The application itself was put forward, under the coordination of the FPS Foreign Affairs, by all cybersecurity stakeholders (including the Belgian Centre for Cybersecurity and the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications) but also by the Brussels institutions, in particular the Commissioner for Europe and International Organisations (CEIO), hub.brussels, Visit.brussels and Citydev. The work, actively supported by successive prime ministers and the Brussels Government, led to the publication of a bid book last July and the official submission of the Belgian candidacy on 6 November.
The seat selection process, led by the German Presidency of the EU, is currently under way. The deadline for applications was 6 November. In addition to Belgium's, the other candidates are Germany (Munich), Lithuania (Vilnius), Luxembourg, Romania (Bucharest) and Spain (Leon). Member States will vote to elect the candidate on 9 December 2020 (1 vote/state). This vote will take place in two rounds if no candidate receives a majority in the first round.
Given its international character and its experience in hosting European and international institutions, Brussels has strong assets. It has a very dynamic cybersecurity ecosystem.
"It is clear that the EU is looking for a secure environment to host the centre, especially in terms of connectivity and 5G. Our bid can guarantee these elements. In addition to the international and technological ecosystem, Brussels therefore has all the assets to offer this centre a strategic future", says Pascal Smet, Secretary of State for European and International Relations and Foreign Trade.
"We also have the capacity and experience in hosting not only this type of institution, but also its staff and its many visitors. Points that make the Brussels Region a very serious candidate," adds Rudi Vervoort.
"Welcoming this new institution would at last help to further consolidate the international status of Brussels, the capital of the European Union, where no less than 38 EU organisations are already present today," conclude Rudi Vervoort and Pascal Smet.