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Brussels expats 'a strategic asset'

The expatriate population of Brussels plays a crucial role in Belgium’s economy, which is a fact the country’s authorities are beginning to recognise and capitalise on, it has been reported.

Speaking to NRC Handelsblad, Marie-Laure Roggemans, of the city’s Fondation Roi Baudouin thinktank, said: "There is a new elan."

"The Europeans are important for the Brussels’ economy. Half of all concert-goers are Europeans. They are our new bourgeoisie," she explained.

According to the news service, the city’s expatriate population was traditionally perceived by native residents to be "arrogant and spoilt".

Today, however, it suggests that "globalisation has led to fierce competition between cities in attracting international organisations and the expats that come with them".

Brussels needs to show an interest in its foreign community through statistics, surveys and a more cosmopolitan outlook in order to remain competitive, added the online magazine.

A recent report published by the United Nations ranked Belgium 17th out of 182 on a list rating countries around the world on the quality of life enjoyed by residents.

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