Rudi Vervoort, minister-president of the Brussels region, has promised he will, if returned to office following the May regional elections, propose a scheme setting up local cooperatives in every neighbourhood of the city. “There are 118 neighbourhoods in Brussels,” he said in an interview in Le Soir. “That’s the environment which the people identify with, where they experience all kinds of difficulties, but where they also feel at home and often most secure. That’s where we have to start out from.”
Each cooperative would be autonomous, with the region as a partner. Each would also have a budget of €100,000 made available – a total of €11.8 million. The ambitious project – so far no more than an idea – would also provide each co-op with “a building with spaces for meetings, classes and training, homework supervision and cultural projects” – some of which, it should be pointed out, are not the province of the region.
The Brussels region as it now exists is 30 years old this year. Time enough, he said, for it to be able to take care of its own affairs. “Some people, including the Flemish, have a habit of always calling the region into question and proposing wild solutions like the merging of police zones, which have nothing to do with the needs of the region. For those who from afar claim that Brussels has no place, is neither sustainable nor stable, I have this to say: enough is enough. Thirty years on, the people of Brussels are perfectly able to decide for themselves about what’s good for them.”