Our philosophy

Change.Brussels is a citizens' platform that brings together citizens who want to take control of the future of this city. We want go beyond party politics and don’t believe in vanity projects. We believe in getting things done. That is the reason we participate in the local elections.

The last few months, about 60 people were involved in the creation of a programme for the local elections. This is just the beginning: we are constantly looking for new people and ideas. 
 

First, a quick word about the basic principles of Change.Brussels:

  • This is a truly bottom-up and participatory process. It is popular but not populist. We listen to each other, and we work in tandem so that experience and expertise can inform each other.

  • We hope that this approach, based on discussion and consensus, can create a new form of collective identity: united by what we all share, living together in Brussels; and not divided by traditional party lines, nationality or ethnicity. This is very important in a city like Brussels where almost everyone comes from somewhere else.

  • People often say ‘you can't change the system’, or ‘that's the way it's always been done here’, or that ‘Brussels is too complicated’ for meaningful change to be possible. We do not underestimate the challenge, but we believe it is worth trying. We are pragmatic and focused on results.

  • We are participating in the local elections because we believe that structural change is necessary so that we can improve the way our city is managed, and rebuild trust between citizens and policy makers. 

 

How do want to achieve this?

  • 1. 50% of the city's investment budget (which was 170 million Euros in 2018) should be a "citizen budget", to be distributed in consultation with Citizens.
    2. There must be a more transparent link between the needs of the various districts of the city and the decisions that are taken in the City Council. To enable this we will setup a participation network with the following elements
    :

    • Permanent "Participation Points" in different districts in the city where residents can find out about, and give their opinion on, local issues.

    • “Participation Groups": consultation groups for bigger, specific issues, such as the building of new schools or hospitals for example.

    • "Vision Groups": long-running, city-wide forums for long-term issues, like big infrastructure projects, and those which need us to work with Regional and Federal Government.

    • These would all be supervised by facilitators, City Council members or volunteers, who enable participation but who do not direct discussions. And they would inform the College and the City Council in their decision making.

What does ‘participation’ means to us?

  • Participation can't be "group therapy" or "window dressing". It must be a real and equal exchange where listening to the opinions of residents and organisations is required in the process of City decision making. Likewise people and organisations must be involved in policy definition - "what do we want?" - and not only in the executive phase - "what should it look like?".

  • We practice decision-making by consensus - "is this acceptable for you?" - and not by simple majority voting.

  • We think that all Brussels citizens should be represented and we believe in providing them with the necessary tools and knowledge so that they can have informed opinions. To that end we will work closely with experts: relevant research can be carried out and shared, and when necessary, impact analyses undertaken.

And if Change.Brussels does not become part of the majority we will still create a participatory system so that we can constructively inform the City Council from opposition.