Fedactio @ Paleizenstraat 27, 1030 Schaarbeek, België
Speaker : Emir KIR, Mayor of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode
Subject: The Role and Importance of Local Governments in Multicultural Belgian Society: The Case of Brussels
European Professionals Network (EPN) hosted Emir KIR – Mayor of the Saint- Josse-ten-Noode, the most crowded municipality of Brussels this month in its traditional breakfast talks to evaluate the importance of local governments in the multicultural Belgian society. More than 60 professionals and academics attended the programme in Fedactio. Traditionally, the programme started with a nice breakfast. After the breakfast the president of EPN – Yüksel Kaya introduced Mr. Kır with a short opening speech. The subject of the speech was ʻʻThe Role and Importance of Local Governments in Multicultural Belgian Society: The Case of Brussels’’.
Emir Kır started his speech referring to the elections and the importance of politics. He stated that politics is very important to catch youth attraction. Mr. Kır talked about how he became a politician and won the elections through “working very hard”. As he mentioned in his conversation, it was difficult for him to become a politician and reach his current position as a Turkish and Muslim origin. There also were reactions from some media and some people. Mr. Kır said that there is a widespread movement against the foreigners and nobody can ignore this. The crisis experience has been different in Belgium, compared to other European countries. Belgium has been strong and improved itself thanks to immigrants. He continued the speech giving example about Brussels and his municipiality -Saint-Josse-ten-Noode. Belguium consists of three different communities and this is a model for EU due to its multicultural nature. In the context of Brussels, 50% of its 1.100.000 population are foreigners and immigrants. Only in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode live more than 140 ethnic groups.
Mr. Kır also talked about the successes in his commune. He is governing a municipality which has the smallest area in Brussels and the population is both youngest and the poorest population of Brussels. He is working hard to limit gambling which is more less in other municipalities compared to Saint-Josse-ten-Noode. They have many plans like to ease transportation, to help poor people financially and make more social and cultural activities, especially for children. At the end of the speech Mr. Kır was asked some questions and he ended the his talk saying “Negotiation is the fundamental of politics. Politics without negotiation cannot be successful”. After the questions and answers session, the president Yüksel Kaya made a present of an art that had a symbol of Turkish and Belgian friendship to Emir Kır and ended the breakfast talk of the month.