Belgian democratic innovations inspire France, Finland and Switzerland
With the Bürgerdialog in the German-speaking Community and the Deliberative Commissions in the Brussels Region, our country is a true pioneer in deliberative democracy.
Foreign experts and politicians are taking a close interest in the Belgian approach.
In early October, Olivier Véran, the French Minister for Democratic Renewal, travelled to Brussels. The object of his trip was to better understand the deliberative commissions in the French-speaking Brussels Parliament.
The French minister was able to observe how citizens and parliamentarians work together. "I attended the conclusion of their work on "crisis management", a subject on which parliamentarians and citizens have worked side by side for several months, proving that representative democracy and participatory democracy are not in competition but complementary.
"I was very eager to come and see this initiative at first hand in Brussels, which should inspire us, because there can be no trust without dialogue," Olivier Véran
A few days later, a group of 30 Finnish officials and project leaders came on a study visit. Invited by G1000, they discussed the 'Ostbelgien Model', the permanent citizens' dialogue of the Parliament of the German-speaking Community and the first of its kind in the world.
On Thursday 27 October, G1000 Advisory Board member Christoph Niessen will explain the Ostbelgien Model to a Swiss delegation. There is great interest in this model, which was included in an OECD report on democratic renewal and has already inspired citizens' councils set up in Paris, Aachen and Newdam (London).