Pascal Smet, State Secretary for European and International Relations of the Brussels Capital Region, commented: “Brussels is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world, with more than 180 nationalities. For me and for the future of Brussels it’s very important to know what all these people think and make it possible for them to shape our city together. We want to hear everyone’s voice because we are well aware of the fact that all these international Brusselers, 1 out of 3 of the inhabitants of our city, are not able to vote in the regional elections. With this project we take a very important first step to give all these people a voice. We want to hear what international Brusselers want to say and we will listen.”
1 in 3 Brussels residents has a foreign nationality, and more than 20% are EU-nationals. Yet these International Brusselers cannot vote in Regional elections and their voice is scarcely heard in the Region’s politics. This needs to change. Commissioner.brussels and the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region are therefore launching Live here. Speak, hear. This pioneering project will offer international residents a chance to share their ideas and be heard at Regional level, combining an online platform with interactive debates to find out what International Brusselers really want.
The digital participation platform is already live, gathering suggestions about how the Regional government could make life easier for the international community. International Brusselers can read what others propose and register to submit their own ideas. After the summer we will host physical sessions to hone the policy proposals, and give International Brussels the chance to select their top priorities.
Alain Hutchinson, Brussels Commissioner for Europe and International Organisations, said “Regional policies really affect our daily lives, impacting on vital areas like public transport, employment and security. International Brusselers do not just live and work here, this is their home. They should have the right to speak up on issues like these, so I really hope that as many people as possible will get involved. International Brusselers make Brussels the diverse and exciting city it is, and I am very intrigued to hear what they have to say.”
Ideas will be clustered around 4 main themes, which will also form the basis of the Manifesto of the International Brusseler, a comprehensive set of policy recommendations which we will present to the Brussels Parliament In November.
Improving the welcome for new arrivals and building on the success of the Expat Welcome Desk.
Proposals to give International Brusselers meaningful political representation in the Region.
The European Quarter as a space for working and living.
A fourth topic chosen by International Brusselers themselves.
Commissioner.brussels is the organisation which maintains and develops direct relations between the Government of the Brussels Capital-Region and the Region’s numerous international institutions. It also offers personalised support to residents through the Expat Welcome Desk.