“The future of Europe rests on the ability of its people to uphold the common values that bind them together: democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. Free and fair elections are a basic expression of democracy, and elections in the EU must follow the highest democratic standards.”
This is the introduction of a report published yesterday by the European Commission on the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections.
The Commission’s report reveals that Belgium is underperforming in its implementation of the right for EU citizens to vote and stand as candidates in municipal elections. The Report notes that democratic participation in local elections is “linked to better inclusion in society, a sense of belonging and broader democratic engagement.”
In this framework, in Brussels, the movement #1bru1vote recalls that the situation is particularly dire in the Brussels-Capital region, where non-Belgian residents represent a third (310.000 people) of the potential electorate, are barred from voting and standing in regional elections. These 310,000 Brussels residents include 220,000 EU citizens and 90,000 non-EU nationals.
“#1bru1vote calls on the Belgian government to change this as regards the Brussels-Capital region” explains Bertrand Wert, from the #1bru1vote movement and Councillor within the Ixelles Commune. “Our petition for a democratic change in Brussels has already attracted more than 2,000 signatures in just one week” he concludes.
Belgium has the lowest percentage of mobile EU citizens registered to vote in municipal elections
In the conclusions of this report, the Commission reminds that “EU citizens are increasingly moving and residing in other Member States. Since the previous two reports, the population of mobile EU citizens has doubled, with around 14 million of voting age in 2016, but the levels of voter registration for mobile EU citizens in municipal elections remain low”.