Volt the new party shares its vision for Eindhoven :
It is seldom that one gets to live in a city whose residents embrace global and local values with complete enthusiasm. Walking on the streets of Eindhoven, whether through the bustling city centre or flavoursome Woensel or quiet Meerhoven, it is quite common to hear beautiful accents of Dutch, of European languages, of Asian, African & Latin American languages and also multiple accents of English. The fact that Eindhoven is increasingly enjoying cultural flavours becomes more evident as Volt, a pan-European political party seeks to establish itself in our City’s socio-economic-political life.
Volt has been around for only 4 years, but more than 70 Volters have been elected at the local, regional, national and European levels. Our policy for Eindhoven is based on a vision for a green city, a new vision for mobility and an alderman for digitalisation. Wherever Volt participates in elections, it makes a positive impression with the belief that every individual is unique and has equal rights to achieve their true potential. And, therefore Volt Eindhoven would like to promote more socially cohesive policies in our City Hall. In this regard, our inclusive strategy advocates the establishment of an International Liaison Desk at the City Council. This practical proposal to achieve our policy ideals has been articulated after due consideration and multiple discussions within Volt Eindhoven to promote :
Equality in information sharing – Eindhovenaren who are not born and brought up in the Netherlands may not be familiar with the various rules, regulations and policies that govern our everyday life and overall well-being. These matters could be related to issues such as housing or employment situations, education matters, health situations or indeed other legal rights and obligations. Language is just one barrier to gaining information around these matters. Again, even if a resident is living in Eindhoven for 1 year as a student; their information requirements could be totally different. For example, they may not know that as a student resident of Eindhoven they may be eligible for housing benefits (irrespective of EU / non-EU nationality). The establishment of an international liaison desk will not only provide such information but more importantly will provide a non-judgemental helping hand given the specific situation of a resident.
Balancing the interests of new Eindhovenaren – Practical implementation of certain policies could be contradictory to the interests of newly arrived Eindhovenaren. For example, our growing city is in need of a new Housing Policy. The people who make the high-tech companies operating in the region valuable continue to struggle to gain access to decent housing. Almost all political parties in Eindhoven recognise the need to take appropriate actions to ensure a fair and equitable housing policy. An international liaison desk can ensure that the housing policy follows the principles of social cohesion, so that all Eindhovenaaren – be it Dutch, expats (EU / non-EU), students (EU / non-EU), refugees etc. are not segregated inadvertently. Our interactions with our immediate neighbours help us to widen our perspectives. Living in bubbles is not helpful for anybody, whatever be their reason for choosing Eindhoven as their current home city. Similarly, in other policy matters such as education, health, job market equality etc., an international liaison desk can ensure that all Eindhovenaren enjoy equal opportunities and that the policies/protocols do not lead to exclusion. Anybody who lives in Eindhoven, even for a year as a student should feel at home during their stay.
- Promoting socio-cultural and people-to-people contact between all Eindhovenaren – This is an issue that is particularly close to our hearts at Volt Eindhoven. The international desk would actively encourage language and cultural exchange. In effect, we would like to introduce a more extensive version of Taalmaatje (language buddies) to allow for :
- Dedicated conversational classes
- The proactive pairing of local learners of languages by launching a communication platform as part of our digitalisation policy. The platform (amongst other matters) will promote the effective pairing of language buddies. For example, not just a non-Dutch learning Dutch language, a Dutch can also choose to upskill by learning another language (even computer languages) via this platform.
- Book readings (in multiple languages) organized at Bibliotheek and local book shops
- Comedy clubs and local theatre productions to further expand Eindhoven’s cultural footprint
- Organising Eindhoven community innovation and biking days
The politics that has been practised in the recent past have evolved into a situation where holding power is the key aim of the politicians. For us at Volt Eindhoven, it is important to promote the well-being of Eindhovenaren. Indeed, our practical proposal for establishing an international desk will play a positive role in the city life by ensuring adequate information sharing, harmonising policies and promoting socio-cultural development of the city as outlined above.
Written by: Stuti Dua, Co-Lead Events, Volt Eindhoven