On the evening of Thursday November 16, the city hall of Eindhoven was the site of a successful initiative. Politicians from six political parties gave up their time to debate issues and answer questions about concerns facing the international community as well as to discuss policies that could impact the future of both the international and local communities in The Netherlands.
The evening began with a welcome note by Marion Hinderdael from Brainport Eindhoven followed by an introduction of the candidates taking part: Jan Joosten (CDA), Judith Tielen (VVD), Valerie Pajak (Volt), Mpanzu Bamenga (D66), and Eva de Bruijn (PvdA-GL).
The event was divided into four segments of questioning moderated by Eindhoven News, along with NL Times, Radio 4 Brainport, and Dutch News. It concluded with a segment of Q&A from the pleasingly large audience turnout.
The first segment of questioning focused on international students (dilemmas facing lack of housing – student loan interest rate increases – scholarships), elimination of English in higher level education, minimum wage, and development initiatives/planned funding for the Brainport region.
The next segment (moderated by NL Times and Eindhoven News), adressed the key points of immigration policies regarding knowledge migrants and labour migration. This was followed by questions on the 30% ruling tax break and each party’s stance on how to address the rising concerns about its impact, along with their proposed alternative solutions. Concluding this segment was a discussion around labour shortage and Dutch facilities for asylum seekers.
The third segment, moderated by Radio 4 Brainport and Eindhoven News, focused on innovation (costs/risks associated with it), sustainability (and the effect of each party’s long term plans on maintaining it), cybersecurity, and mobility/public transportation solutions.
The fourth and final segment, moderated by Dutch News and Eindhoven News, specified issues around cost of living, housing shortage (across all societal levels), healthcare/healthcare insurance. It concluded with a final statement per party promoting their party’s overall political agenda and answering the question: “Why the international Dutch individuals aka “New Dutch” should vote for them?
As a conclusion for the audience, guest candidate member Ruud van Acquoij (50plus) gave a two minute pitch covering the basic agenda of the party, and stressed on the imperative of the young community to plan for the future.
The event closed with a session where the audience put a range of questions to the candidates, from student loan interest rate solutions, export/import discrepancies, accountability policies for irresponsible individuals, and racism based on “non-Dutch” names.
To listen to full debate coverage, visit Radio 4 Brainport.
Eindhoven News wishes to thank everyone involved in making this event such a success, from the candidates for taking the time to answer questions and address these lingering concerns, to the partners who supported us in creating such a significant event: The municipality of Eindhoven, NL Times, Dutch News, Radio 4 Brainport, Brainport Development and Eindhoven Airport.
For Eindhoven News: Lila Mehrez