Brussels Labour welcomes a guest post from the I vote where I live campaign.
We are a group of European citizens from different EU countries, living in Brussels. In 2016 we got together to create the I vote Where I Live campaign. We all are interested in politics, not only in our countries of origin but also in this city that we call home. Nearly 250,000 Europeans are affected by local policies in the 19 communes of Brussels. We believe it is important that all residents of Brussels are engaged in Brussels’ local politics, and even more so with municipal elections on the agenda this year.
Our group’s primary objective is to raise the awareness of European residents to the political and institutional life of the territory and facilitate their integration and active participation in the Brussels communes, in line with the rights provided by European citizenship. We believe that the city of Brussels, for its history of diversity and its role in the European construction, is a privileged laboratory for an innovative and inclusive notion of political citizenship.
We consider participation in the local elections in the 19 communes of the Brussels-Capital Regions an important step towards better integration of European citizens and the emergence of a sense of community and belonging. We want to actively contribute to developing joint answers to local issues.
We have identified two main obstacles for Europeans for voting in the local elections, which our campaign seeks to tackle:
- Awareness (of the institutional set-up of federal, regional, and local authorities, as well as the political issues on the table)
- Logistics (which voting rights, procedures for registration etc.)
We are not starting from zero as a group. Already in June 2017, we created a Facebook page, I Vote Where I Live, with currently around 260 likes and followers, “and counting”. Within this group, we have already organised several events, for instance, on the rise of populism across different countries, on mobility in Brussels and a series of events called “Belgium for Dummies” where we address the questions of foreigners on how Brussels and Belgium work and what needs to be done to vote in October. Events were attended by between 40 and 80 participants.
- Ilaria Maselli, Italo-Belgian, Uccle/Ukkel (contact person, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0473787046)
- Sandra Parthie, German, Etterbeek
- Arnold de Boer, Dutch, Etterbeek
- Gerard Rinse Oosterwijk, Nederlands, Elsene
- Cathrine Hernández Festersen, Danish, Ixelles
- Ivan Scannapiecoro, Italian, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert
- Federico Mori, Italian, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek
- Sabrina Iannazzone, Italian, Forest
- Max Frey, German & Italian, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre
- Adeline Rochet, French, Ixelles
- Filippo Orlando, Italian, Brussels
- Christine Jakob, French-German, Uccle
Commune elections in Belgium are coming up on 14 October. There’s no more direct means of being politically active than putting a cross in a box and it’s a great way to show that you’re integrated in Belgium 😉 Take a look at the commissioner.brussels website to see how you (or a friend) can register. Make sure you sign up by 31 July!