Subject: Delay in the construction of the 5th European School and urgent need to address overcrowding in all Brussels ES

Dear Commissioner,

As regards the FUTURE of European Schools System (ESS) we are delighted that our requests have been heard

R&D has always been committed to supporting the (ESS), not only as part of the social package offered to our staff but also as a model of high-quality multilingual and multicultural education in Europe and beyond. The ESS is open to all EU citi­zens and demonstrates that being ‘united in diversity’ can be a living reality in the field of education.

We are delighted that our requests have been heard and addressed in the Resolution on the European Schools System of 12 Septem­ber 2023 and in the Parma Declaration, which emphasises the urgent need to define the mission and perspectives of the ESS in the context of the 21st century challenges.

It calls for a vision for the system that we do support including plans for its modernisation and the development of a model for contem­porary education that plays an important role in the creation of the European Education Area (EEA).

However, the more than appreciable effort to design the future of the ESS must not become a pretext for neglecting current and URGENT problems particularly, but not exclusively, in Brussels! 

We have always stressed that any reflection on the future of the ESS must not be used as a pretext for neglecting the current problems within the system.

Indeed, there is a notable lack of accountability from some host coun­tries responsible for the provision and maintenance of school buildings.

This has led to serious issues, especially in Brussels, where schools are overcrowded and the enrolment policy has significantly impacted on the quality of teaching, organisational aspects, and the safety and well-being of both pupils and staff.

To address these concerns, we are currently conducting a series of initiatives, events and consultations with all stakeholders, and we would like to share the initial results with you.

The functioning of the ES in Brussels is becoming an essential showcase and among the many responses we have recei­ved, the concerns and issues raised by the enrolment policy are among the most strongly voiced.

I am writing to express our concern about the announced delay in the construction of the 5th European School in Brussels, which, accor­ding to the latest communications, will not be completed before 2030.

This delay is also attributed to the adoption of a new tender model (DCFM) covering the design, construction, fi­nancing, and mainte­nance of the school.  The Secretary General of the ES has confirmed that several coordination meetings have been held with the “Régie des Bâtiment”s in the presence of the Commission.

We understand that feasibility studies are underway to find temporary solutions and increase the capacity of one or several existing ES.

However, with the official delivery date of the new school set for 2030 at the earliest, it is crucial to plan effective alternative solutions to address overcrowding in all Brussels ES and to compensate for any further delays.

The current transitional measures and enrolment policies, while designed to mitigate inconveniences until the planned ope­­ning of the 5th European School in 2028, are now clearly insufficient to meet the needs of the affected families and need to be urgently updated.

It is therefore imperative to review the existing enrolment and local school budget policies with appropriate measures to pro­­vide the necessary flexibility required by the current situation in order to ensure a smooth transition and maintain the quality of education provided to our children.

We have noted and shared APEE’s concerns that the Evere site of the European School Brussels II (nursery and pri­mary) could, con­trary to initial statements, only be a temporary site due to new development plans for the old NATO site.

Indeed, the construction of the 5th European School and the confirmation of the Evere site as a permanent one are essential for the future of our children and for the attractiveness of the European Union institutions in Brussels.

Having duly appreciated all the attention you have always paid to the EES, which we have absolutely appreciated, we are sure that you share our opinion that the more than regrettable delay in the construction of the 5th European Scholl in Brussels, cannot justify imposing unacceptable conditions on all those involved in the European Schools.

I kindly ask you to consider this request with the seriousness it deserves and to take the necessary steps to support the re­view and strengthening of the transitional measures in place.

R&D remains fully available for any further information or to discuss concrete proposals .

Cristiano Sebastiani,



Mr. D. Muller, Head of Cabinet Hahn
Mrs S. Bikar, Deputy Head of Cabinet Hahn
Mr. S. Quest, Director-General HR
Mrs M. Silva Mendes, Head of Unit HR.F.3
Mr. A. Cenini, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Schools
Mr. A. Beckmann, Secretary-General of the European Schools
Mr. M. Bordoy Verchili, Deputy Secretary-General of the European Schools
Presidents of APEEE Staff EU Institutions