Sunday, 17 October 2010

The faces of Brussels

I have recently attended a Brussels Citizen University. An event organised by the team of Eric Corijn. We have discussed in English, French and ... Flemish the future of this city. The biggest discussion was of course about financing of the investments.
If you look for complex topics then you cannot get a better one that the history, population and government of this city. Yet still it is part of the world city network, part of the conurbation which links Belgium, Holland, NRW and Lille. It is also a world city due its population which stems from Turkey, Morocco and Kongo.

During my 4 years in Brussels I have realised how great and mediocre the Belgians can be at the same time. But when I saw the way the Belgian federalism works- a federalism of dotations- I lost all hope. I think I might start voting for NVA just to change the curcuit of money. It does not make any sense. You have regions and communities which receive the gross of the money from the central pot. It is like a bed dream of a bureaucratic guru.

Another point: there is no real Brussels narrative. If you talk to people from Eastern communes like WSL or Uccle; they have nothing in common with those from Mollenbeek or Schaerbeek. These are two worlds which are virtually separated by a KANAL.

And funny enough, the diplomats and Eurocrats like me, pay only the indirect taxes. So even the acclaimed Belgian socialism with taxation rate going beyond 50% does not capture the 'international bourgoisie'.

What are the points of contact between the 4 communities: Arab/Polish immigrants; pauperised Belgians; rich Belgians and expats? Probably the police where the robbed fortunates realise that Brussels has a different face too.
And strangely enough, the police is organised as 4 regions.... for a city of 1 million inhabitants and 400 000 commuters....
Despite the positive remarks of Paul Magnette, there is something rotten in this country. It is now my country too.
So what we need is not only a Flemish movement. We need a Brussels movement, discussion, vision. Because now it seems like everybody turns his back against the rest.
What are the initiatives you can follow on this subject? There is office for urban reporting - OUR or Kanal Platform.
And for those thinking about Belgium - you can look at RE-BEL.
I go to read one of their pieces :)