Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder (PS) has just officially announced the arrival of Belgian Defense in Charleroi. As we know, plans to install “new military quarters” were on the army’s table, shaken by budget cuts in recent years. “There is an under-representation of Defense in Hainaut and a desire to bring it, as well as its staff, closer to civil society, particularly for the balance between private and professional life and that it plays a real role social”, explains the minister at a press conference in Charleroi.
A semi-open barracks will therefore see the light of day, at the Marchienne-au-Pont entrance along the road to Mons, on a large unused industrial wasteland. The laying of the first stone could already be done in 2024: on-site depollution is considered a priority.
Called “district of the future”, this barracks represents what the army wants to be tomorrow: integrated into society, close to the people (and therefore close to their places of life for the military), engine of the economy and research , and opening up training and career opportunities. “We are considering 1,000 engagements in the Charleroi region over the next few years, thanks to this neighborhood of the future project. There is already talk of recruiting some 2,500 soldiers per year throughout Belgium”, underlines the Minister. The mayor of Charleroi, Paul Magnette, supports it: “the army is also a place of social advancement: people who may not have the opportunity to study find a career, or at least training and a few years of careers”.
It is not a question here of making lodgings for the soldiers, but well a barracks: a place of work for the soldiers. The potential assignments of the places, beyond a plain of maneuvers, are in particular to create places of training, research in particular technological, probably an entity of cybersecurity, logistics and medical.
The barracks were announced on the sidelines of the presentation of the “Porte Ouest” master plan. The masterplan aims to completely redesign the link between Charleroi and Marchienne, via the Carsid site, with businesses and green spaces. This is precisely what motivated La Défense to seriously consider Charleroi to establish itself there: the proximity of A6K-E6K and companies solid in innovation, technology and science, to develop partnerships, coupled with the location close to the city center and the ease of access with the Marchienne-au-Pont station and the metro, as well as the recruitment potential in the coming years were undeniable assets. “We are also very proud to be a driving force behind the redeployment of this West Gate for Charleroi”, adds Ludivine Dedonder.
The development of this “district of the future” could also, at the same time, allow families to come and settle in Charleroi or the former municipalities, while making it possible to offer sharing and collaboration with La Défense for meeting rooms. sports, childcare and training. “Now that we have decided that it is in Charleroi that we will settle, partnerships are already being forged with IFAPME, Forem, the Cité des Métiers, etc.”