Municipal elections are going to take place on 16 March. The political debates are heating up. The candidates are busy connecting with the voters; the parties have already formulated their standpoints and are defending their policies.
How is the campaigning going on for the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party in Eindhoven? Most importantly, what changes would they like to bring to this city, which is home to almost 40,000 internationals?
With these questions in my mind, I had a discussion with Remco van Dooren (Vice Chairman, Leading Candidate, CDA Eindhoven) and Miriam Frosi (Councilor) running at # 4, as an international candidate. Remco is the candidate list leader at number 1 on the council.
“Trying to find an acceptable solution”: Remco
Elected with a huge number of votes in the last municipal election, Remco has been interested in politics since a very young age. “Shortly before I turned 18, I became the chairman of the neighbourhood council in Acht,” he tells me. “And after four years, it was time for the next step.” Being in politics meant that he could do much for the people. “If your neighbour has a good idea, as a councillor you can help to bring that idea forward. If the people in the neighbourhood have a problem, you can notify your municipal council and try to find a solution.” Remco believes in being accessible to people. “Much of politics is actually trying to find an acceptable solution to the problem,” he says.
“Politics is my vocation:” Miriam Frosi
Miriam Frosi, on the other hand, is a known face in the international circles in Eindhoven. She moved from Italy to Eindhoven because of love. “Politics is my vocation. Before joining the CDA, I went through the ideologies of other parties as well. CDA’s standpoints on solidarity with people, standing next to them in hours of crisis, offering good governance fitted perfectly with my ideals,” says Miriam, who grew up in a Catholic land. CDA is a party of values for Miriam. She cherishes the fundamentals that put emphasis on solidarity combined with responsibility for groups and organizations, a program that focuses more on US and less on ME.
CDA has offered 50 candidates this year for the municipal elections. Remco believes that it marks CDA out as a party with a ‘local’ flavour. “Our list is diverse. With this, we’re trying to represent the entire society of Eindhoven. From seniors to youth, from men to women, natives and newcomers, internationals, locals, and even people who are new to politics. I’m proud of our candidates. This diversity is the main strength of our local team,” he says with visible pride.
“More women in politics:” Miriam Frosi
Miriam agrees with him completely. She wants to advance women’s interests. Recently, she (along with Henk Jager CU) brought it to the attention of the local council how the poor women and families in Eindhoven suffer due to a lack of menstrual products and baby diapers. And her initiative was successful when the city council appreciated this effort unanimously and thanks to her efforts, in the future the families can receive these products for free, although the plan requires more time and research.
“It is very important to have more women in politics,” Miriam says with enthusiasm. She wants to have discussions in the council related to women’s health issues, the inequalities which women face at home and at work, about the poverty which they must battle. “I’m all for equal opportunities, women’s empowerment, and emancipation. To improve our democratic process, we need a complete reflection of our society, hence more women in the politics.”
“A vibrant, diverse team and a detailed election program in English” Remco
With their diverse and super energetic team, Remco wishes to work together for our vibrant city with an extremely international flavour. CDA has always believed in integrating foreigners into mainstream Dutch society. “Did you know, this year, we have a detailed version of our election program in English? We want the Internationals to know that we are also committed to them. Everyone who comes to this city is an ‘Eindhovenaar’ to me, irrespective of where they come from. All are welcome, and all must feel at home in Eindhoven. We help them to learn the language and stimulate them to integrate into our society.”
Miriam, too, has been very vocal about the causes of the Internationals whom she represents in the council. She echoes Remco’s thoughts that everyone must feel at home in this city. “With this idea in mind, I created the International Digital Café Feel at home in Eindhoven, an online digital platform to talk and meet. After hearing the horrific stories of labour exploitation, I also came up with a hotline to inform about labour exploitation in the city hall.”
“We are going to focus on four points in the coming years:” Remco
Eindhoven, naturally, is the centre of technology and innovation; as a city, it is growing and will continue to grow. “In the coming four years, we are going to focus on four important points,” shares Remco, as he talks about the plans. “To build enough and affordable houses (both to buy and to hire), to make Eindhoven an easily accessible city, to enhance livable residential areas, to work towards becoming a city where sports is accessible to everyone,” he explains patiently. These are the top four priorities that he believes the city government should undertake, among others, during the next four years.
The municipal elections are important, as it is the government closest to you. Both Remco and Miriam have only one message for the Internationals- Do vote and do let your voices be heard to make a difference in the society where you live!
CDA’s election program manual offers one with further insight into their standpoints regarding the Internationals. You may visit https://www.cda.nl/noord-brabant/eindhoven/standpunten/default-title-171105.
An article by Chaitali Sengupta