17: 12 . (Miriam) People who started this campaign are simply people who love Brussels. We have all been here for years, we have built our lives here; our political engagement goes hand in hand with taking care of this city that we love. Brussels is our home.
Gerard, Miriam and Adeline (left to right) are colleagues from the same political family at the European Parliament, where they work as policy advisors. They are also part of the campaign ‘I vote where I live’, inviting Brussels residents and particularly expats to register and vote at the local elections – next October 2018.
(Gerard) How did we start ‘I vote where I live’? Well, we started as a small group of expats called Europeans in Brussels. We are aware that many expats live here but do not register to vote at the local elections – so we want to motivate them.
(Adeline) In all fairness at the beginning we were progressives (socialists&democrats) coming together, but the campaign is open to people from all political families ! ‘I vote where I live’ is about inviting people to ask questions about Brussels and is also about connecting us with these people.
(Miriam) So, the three of us are running for elections, but our mission goes beyond this. We really want to reduce the gap between the population of expats here in Brussels and its actual engagement with the politics, policies and the development of the city.
(Adeline) People need to realise that a lot of aspects of our daily lives actually depend on the ‘commune’. So when expats who live here, walk on these streets and complain about garbage, or complain about traffic jams, these people must know that the best way to improve these aspects is to actually get involved with the progress of Brussels as a city. I work on air quality issues and this is a perfect example of an issue where we need the city level to enforce the framework set by the EU.
(Miriam) Especially that Brussels is the European capital – it should set the perfect example of synergy between the European aspirations and their practical enforcement.
(Gerard) Let’s say you are residing here just for a little bit, like many people in this city, why don’t you make that effort for the others coming after you, who will live here ?
I am from Amsterdam and even though I have only been here four years, I care about transport, air quality. If we get other Europeans to act, we could finally have a say in things.
(Adeline) Well, I’ve been living here for nine years, I have my life here, my kids go to school here. I am Brusseloise and I want to make the best out of living in Brussels.
(Miriam) … starting by ‘voting where you live’ (She smiles)