On 7 February a campaign calling for the right for all Brussels-Capital Region (RBC) residents to vote, #1bru1vote was launched. It has been met with huge support from Belgians and non-Belgians alike. The campaign is of direct concern to those of us who do not have Belgian citizenship and who reside in the RBC.
Today, 1 in 3 Brussels-Capital residents – or 310.000 people – are denied the right to vote, and are prevented from taking an active political role, because they are non-Belgian. These 220.000 European Union citizens and 90.000 citizens with other nationalities are excluded from the democratic process. And yet they are Brussels residents like everyone else—who live, love, work, study, pay taxes and contribute in so many ways to make Brussels-Capital a better home for everyone.
Without the right to vote, these 1 in 3 RBC residents do not have a say on decisions that affect their day-to-day lives, such as mobility and public transport, urban planning and heritage, parks and green spaces, waste and recycling, infrastructure and public works, pollution and air quality, energy and sustainable development, family allocations and education as well as budget.
It is true that all inhabitants of Brussels-Capital, regardless of nationality, can vote in local « communal elections ». But this is an insufficient right because it is fragmented across the 19 communes. While it is at the level of the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the three federal entities in Belgium, that Brussels residents’ life is really organised, and that significant decisions – and policy-making take place.
If you are resident in the RBC and care about this city-region, if you have opinions on issues such as for example air quality, mobility and public transport, and infrastructure and urban planning, if you want to have a say, then we encourage you to take a look at the campaign website www.1bru1vote.be and to sign the petition https://www.change.org/p/1bru1vote.
Escape from the cold this Wednesday at 18.30 at Flagey, Ixelles for the first #1bru1vote Town hall event!
Public figures from Brussels who were some of the campaign’s first 120 signatories will give a short pitch during an open mic session – such as Philippe Van Parijs, Eric Corijn, Alain Deneef, Christophe Leclerq and others – members of the audience will also have an opportunity to do the same! In addition, the campaign will launch its local groups. Join for a drink, discussion and some musical entertainment.
Press coverage has been widespread, including Spanish and European media: