Brussels' Flemish Community Commission (VGC) hopes that a 'Coexistence Plan' will better integrate communities in an increasingly diverse city, Brussels State Secretary Pascal Smet announced in a press release on Wednesday.
The plan will focus investment in a few key areas to promote the Dutch language and combat discrimination by addressing "structural issues and challenges in the diverse capital." A first priority is a stronger welcome for newcomers.
"It is essential that Brussels residents feel a strong connection with each other. We need this connectedness to tackle important issues about the future together. We must continue to engage with each other," said Smet.
The plan wants to guide newcomers to services and leisure experiences; community centres should provide school programming so that all children are exposed to (Dutch-speaking) culture.
It is essential that the Brusselers feel strongly connected to each other. This connection is necessary to tackle major issues of tomorrow together. We need to keep engaging in dialogue. #BrusselsForPeople👉 https://t.co/wKHizTjXQB — Pascal Smet (@SmetPascal) February 1, 2023
"In recent years, the Brussels-Capital Region has turned into a super-diverse and cosmopolitan society. This plan aims to bring more social cohesion to this great diversity," said Sven Gatz, a member of the VGC. He added that Dutch-speaking education in Brussels plays a vital role in this.
"It sets great store by multilingualism and helps newcomers to get to know the diverse offer in various fields such as culture, sports, youth work and welfare, among others."
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The fight against polarisation and discrimination is also part of the Coexistence Plan, and the Advisory Council Living Together & Diversity is also being revived to help to monitor VGC's diversity policy.
The investments come both from the VGC and Flanders, under the auspices of Flanders' 'Living Together' plan. Combined, the investments will total €1.2 million each year.
"In recent years, Brussels has been proudly promoting its image as a super-diverse city. The specific Brussels context gives us the opportunity to experiment and take a leading role with tailor-made policies and innovative projects," said Smet.