12: 27. Citizens are at the core of democracy and democracy loses its meaning without citizens. That is why people should vote: it is the primary way for them to make democracy work.
Charlotte is a policy advisor at the European Parliament. She also created Brussels Wake Up, organising healthy morning parties – and is now running for the upcoming local elections in Ixelles, Belgium.
– Since I am Danish, even though I lived in France for a long time, I could never vote there. Similarly, I can no longer vote in Denmark since I have not lived there for a while. Basically, I lost the right to vote in two cases: there seems to be a loophole here doesn’t it?
Thankfully, here in Belgium, EU citizens can vote and even stand in local elections no matter their EU citizenship. I find this rule very coherent, because living in a country means becoming part of it and therefore wanting to contribute to its system as well.
I genuinely believe in democracy – it may be my optimistic side that always wants beautiful ideas to work out. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that democracy is a failure in a lot of ways today, but citizens should not give up on it. Everybody who has the right to vote should do so. Because the job of our elected representatives (politicians) only has meaning if the people they represent meet them halfway.
I feel Danish, I love Denmark, but before all I feel European – and I now feel very much local here in Brussels. I am actually standing for local elections myself here, in Ixelles. I want to be able to impact the daily life of citizens, feel that I contribute to tangible impacts and results, albeit small.
To be honest, I am a bit doubtful about going into politics, it is a very tough environment and the problem is that given my optimistic nature, I don’t necessarily see the risks in a picture, I only see the opportunities! But you know what – should I get elected, I would like to be that kind of politician; the kind who always ‘sees the sun’. (She smiles)