L-R: David Clarinval, Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Science Policy; Claude Meisch, Luxembourg's Minister for Higher Education and Research; Diane Miller, Director of Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre; Credit: MESR

On Tuesday, Luxembourg and Belgium signed an agreement with Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre renewing the support of the two countries for the foundation, which houses Luxembourgish and Belgian students within the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris.

David Clarinval, Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Science Policy, Claude Meisch, Luxembourg's Minister of Higher Education and Research, and Diane Miller, Director of Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre, signed the agreement in Brussels yesterday.

The agreement perpetuates the principle that each of the two countries contributes to the operating costs of the foundation in proportion to the housing quota reserved for nationals or residents. Two-thirds of the accommodation is allocated, in principle, to students or researchers who are Belgian nationals, residing in Belgium or from Belgian educational institutions and one-third to students or researchers who are Luxembourg nationals, residing in Luxembourg or from Luxembourgish institutions. For the first time, the agreement also provides for an annual review of the contributions of the two countries by applying the benchmark rent index. The agreement thus aims to consolidate the support provided by Belgium and Luxembourg to Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre and should allow the latter to benefit from better visibility for the purposes of planning its action and the sustainability of its activities to the benefit of students and researchers residing there.

Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre has housed more than 500 students, researchers and professors each year since 1927. It also hosts academic, scientific and cultural activities organised by or for its own residents. Created thanks to a donation from the couole Jean-Hubert Biermans and Berthe Lapôtre, the foundation is the fruit of cooperation between Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Completely renovated in 2000 by the Belgian and Luxembourgish governments, the foundation boasts 201 rooms, eighteen studios, computer, reading and fitness rooms, a library, a gallery for exhibitions, a cinema and a performance hall with a capacity of 400 seats.

Claude Meisch commented: "I am very pleased that our two countries are committed today to continue this excellent cooperation for the benefit of Luxembourgish or Belgian students and researchers pursuing their university studies or carrying out research stays in Paris. The foundation does an exemplary job and serves as a real meeting point and showcase for higher education and Belgian and Luxembourg research in Paris".

David Clarinval added: "It is a real pleasure for me to extend the Belgian-Luxembourg convention today allowing this warm and renowned place to continue to welcome students and researchers from our two countries in optimal conditions. Our renewed support for this prestigious institution will allow it to continue to offer its residents excellent conditions of stay, in the heart of a rich and unique international mix".