Lees op Brussels Express

By now, we hopefully are all aware that non-Belgians can vote in the communal elections in Belgium, especially since the next one will be on October 14 and the deadline for registration is on July 31. But do you know that non-Belgian EU citizens can also run for office in the communes?

jellema

Yes, you got that right. In fact, while many non-Belgians in Brussels may have been forgetting the local elections and neglecting their precious democratic right to vote, other non-Belgians have gone far beyond just voting. They ran for councillor, got elected, and dedicated themselves to serving the city. 

Today, we introduce you to some of your fellow non-Belgians in Brussels who currently occupy a position in their respective communes.

 

Rik Jellema 

  • Country of Origin: The Netherlands
  • Commune: Etterbeek
  • Position: Alderman for public works and roads, public buildings, development of green spaces, and sustainable neighborhood contracts
  • Party: Ecolo-Groen

Rik Jellema is quite the historic figure in Brussels local politics.  In 2000, when non-Belgians were allowed to participate in the communal elections and EU citizens were allowed to run for communal office for the first time, he was the very first non-Belgian to be elected councillor in the Brussels region. And then, when elected non-Belgians secured the right to become aldermen and alderwomen in 2006,  he again became the very first non-Belgian in Brussels to be appointed alderman in 2012.

Originally from Leeuwarden in the northern side of the Netherlands, Jellema moved to Brussels in 1987 to work as a translator for the Council of the European Union. In 1991, he joined Flemish political party Agalev which later became known as Groen. After two legi

slative terms as councillor, he became a member of the Collège échevinal or the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of Etterbeek.

Under his leadership, Etterbeek was granted its first sustainable neighborhood contract by the Brussels regional government in 2013. The project, which is now in its final phase, aims to produce more affordable housing and nurseries, and develop more green spaces in Etterbeek.

As a non-Belgian public servant in Brussels, Jellema considers himself an advocate for all Bruxellois – whether Belgian or non-Belgian, European or non-European. He says, regardless of background, residents of Brussels all have the same human needs: a good school for our children, clean streets, good air quality, security, etc.

So what is it like working with Belgian politicians? Jellema admits clashes are inevitable at times. As a Dutchman, he says he is wont to “say what he does and do what he says.” And this straightforward style of politics doesn’t always sit well with Belgian diplomacy and sensitivity. But he says, he always does his best not to provoke the Belgians while still maintaining his ground.

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Met 23 stemmen staat de Etterbeekse gemeenteraad achter de vraag van Jean-Luc Robert (LB) aan de NMBS om de naam van Etterbeek station te behouden. 

Dat schrijft La Capitale.

Die vraag komt er nadat Elsene de vraag stelde om de naam van het station, dat op Elsens grondgebied ligt, te veranderen naar ‘Elsene Universiteit’.

Robert haalt verschillende redenen aan waarom het station zijn naam zou moeten behouden. Zo zou een naamsverandering voor verwarring zorgen bij de reizigers. Het zou een onnodige extra kost zijn voor de NMBS. Daarnaast maakt de naam van het station ook deel uit van erfgoed van de gemeente, aldus Robert.

Ecolo solidair

Toch stond niet iedereen van de gemeenteraad achter de aanvraag om de naam te behouden. Vier gemeenteraadsleden van Ecolo onthielden zich van stemming uit solidariteit met hun Elsense collega’s. Ook twee leden van Défi die in de gemeenteraad van Etterbeek zetelen, brachten geen stem uit.

NMBS en minister van mobiliteit François Bellot (MR) lieten eerder al weten de naam van het station niet te willen veranderen.

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Bron: Le Soir

De Lijst van de Burgemeester, Ecolo-Groen en PS-SP.A in Etterbeek willen samen graag verder na de verkiezingen besturen en hebben daarom een voorakkoord afgesloten. Dat laten ze aan de Etterbekenaren weten met een brief. “Wij wensen opnieuw samen te werken om het leven van de Etterbekenaren nog meer te verbeteren,” klinkt het. [lees verder op Bruzz]

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Maart roert zijn staart, en april doet wat het wil.

Inderdaad: geen gemeenteraad in april.

De maartse gemeenteraad daarentegen was zo grillig als maartse buien, afgewisseld door opklaringen.

Om te beginnen met de opklaringen.
Na het ontslag van ons Ecolo-Groengemeenteraadslid Farida Tatou legde Barbara De Campos de eed af in twee talen (nee, geen Portugees) voor de laatste loodjes tot de installatie van een nieuwe gemeenteraad in december.
Obrigado, Barbara.
Er werd ook een hartverwarmende motie gestemd door alle partijen over solidariteit met de slachtoffers van de aanslagen van 22 maart, nu al weer 2 jaar geleden. (meer…)

If Brussels is the capital of the European Union, Etterbeek would be the heart and soul of the EU capital. The commune located in the center of the Brussels-Capital Region is home to many EU offices and their employees. Compared to Brussels’ 18 other communes, Etterbeek boasts the largest share of residents coming from all over Europe. It is practically an EU town.

Etterbeek is one of the communes with a strong presence of non-Belgians. Among its more than 21,000 foreign inhabitants, majority or 78 percent are nationals belonging to the 27 EU member states aside from Belgium. Considering the ratio, EU citizens are much more represented in Etterbeek than in any other commune in Brussels. The French are the highest in number, followed by the Polish, the Italians, and the Spaniards. [read more]

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