If it relies on CD&V, the influence of councilors will be enhanced. To this end, the party presents a ten-point plan with concrete proposals. “Municipal councils today don’t have much to say as they share files too late. “If we want to excite people or keep them interested in politics, we also have to respect them,” says Flemish MP Brecht Warnes (CD&V).
Not all city councils are created equal
CD&V wants, among other things, to manipulate the amount that must be decided by the city council. “Antwerp is not the same as the Lindeld board, for example. It makes sense that the municipal council of a rural municipality would want to decide on smaller amounts, while in Antwerp people can discuss this in committees,” Warnes explains.
In order to engage council members faster, it is also suggested to prepare a quarterly report on the development in municipal policy and management plans.
According to Warnez, this can best be done via digital systems, such as in the Netherlands, to avoid the administrative burden. “As a council member, you can choose the topics you want to follow through the digital system. For example, a young municipal councilor can easily see all municipal actions related to youth policy and can then ask questions about this in the municipal council,” Warnes explains.
Political leave, continuing education
The CD&V also suggests giving each municipal councilor – depending on the size of the municipality – 2 to 4 days of political leave with alternate income, as with other forms of time off.
The party also wants to make delegation more convenient for students and give them a special status. This makes it easier for them to participate in digital municipal councils.
The Christian Democrats are also proposing better support for council members through targeted and permanent (electronic) training, as well as the Right to Official Assistance Ordinance.
Another proposal is to give members of municipal councils the opportunity to conduct an effective study of municipal regulations. This investigation checks whether the policy is working properly and whether resources are being used efficiently.
Finally, the mayor will have a more important role in the proposal and will become more independent.
A CD&V poll of nearly 350 councilors showed that 44 percent of them think they can’t focus enough on politics, in part because they’re insufficiently engaged and have few powers.
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