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Belgium: Wallonia creates first poles of competitiveness

The Walloon government is making the first concrete steps towards economic recovery of the Walloon region in Belgium by selecting the first clusters of competitiveness. This policy, referred to as the ‘Marshall Plan’, aims to develop excellence in leading sectors of activity which would in turn generate growth and increase the competitiveness of Wallonia at international level.

These clusters consist of enterprises, research centres and universities working together on shared targets. Each of these clusters will be working towards three directions: economic development, research and training. The total budget of 240 Euro over four years is expected to create some two thousands direct jobs, plus all the jobs indirectly related to this.

The Walloon government had issued a call for proposals in December 2005 for the creation of clusters in five fields considered to be beneficial for the regional economic development of the region:

  • aerospace
  • life sciences
  • agro-industry
  • transport and logistics
  • mechanical engineering

Earlier this month an independent jury selected the first four, while it invited the last one, mechanical engineering, to submit an amended proposal which would be in line with their recommendations and focused on materials engineering.

Walloon clusters