Brainport Region Eindhoven has made an ambitious wishlist for the next national government. Brainport asks for more money for services and investment funds, improved accessibility, technological innovations and a better environment for startups. The wishes are expressed in a letter to the program committees of the larger political parties. The intention is that they incorporate the ideas into their programs for the parliamentary elections, taking place next year.
In the letter Brainport not only focuses on its own needs; the region wants to be recognized as economic core area along with the Northern and Southern Randstad. The national economic policy should henceforth be based on these three top regions. To monitor all this, there should be a minister with special attention for the Brainport themes.
The letter was already sent before the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) came with its view that Brainport is at least as important for the economy of Netherlands as the traditional main ports of Rotterdam and Schiphol are.
The wishlist from Eindhoven is quite ambitious for two reasons. First, there is a deeply felt belief – supported by relevant data – that this region is an important hub in the Dutch economy. Secondly, there is a lot of displeasure about the lack of recognition (including money) for this coming from The Hague.
The lobby letter was signed by Rob van Gijzel, chairman of the Brainport Foundation. The Eindhoven mayor has never made a secret of his opinion that Brainport is vastly underrepresented financially, compared to the Randstad regions. Van Gijzel: “We suffer from a great inequality. Of all 21 national museums, there is not one in the South. And out of the Gemeentefonds we receive € 1.53 per capita for culture, sports and social facilities. Rotterdam and Utrecht get € 140, Amsterdam even € 195. One Hundred Ninety-five euros! That’s 127 times as much as we get!”
The main topics from the wishlist:
- 1 billion euros a year to the knowledge economy
- innovation funding for the living labs focused on e-health, energy, mobility and security
- smart and innovation focused procurement
- space for experiments (temporary relief from binding legislation)
- a (pre)seed fund of 500 million euros for high-tech startups
- more focus on Brainport in recruiting foreign talent by NFIA
- fast and direct train connections to Dusseldorf and Aachen/Cologne
- structural increase in government funding for culture, sports and other facilities
Brainport wants to see the first concrete steps within six months after the start of the new government (expected mid next year). In order to get to this point a special minister should be made responsible for the coordination of all this at a national level.