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Brexit information point opens in Amsterdam

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The Dutch government has created a ‘Brexit Information Point’ to answer questions and provide updates for British expats and businesses in the Netherlands.

A ‘Brexit Information Point’ and telephone line were recently opened in Amsterdam for the nearly 15,000 British expats living and working in the Dutch region to provide information regarding the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Following the recent 23 June referendum, the United Kingdom has voted to withdraw its membership from the European Union. The ‘Brexit’, as it’s popularly known, has raised numerous immigration concerns among British employees, freelancers and students in the Netherlands who are uncertain of their future rights to live and work in the country, De Telegraaf reported.

To address the situation, the municipality of Amsterdam, along with Expatcenter Amsterdam and amsterdam inbusiness, has especially created a Brexit Information Point  and hotline to actively inform British expats with future developments.

The counter is located at the Expatcenter Amsterdam while the information line can be reached by calling +31 (0)20 254 7999, according to Amsterdam’s municipal website. British citizens already residing in the Netherlands, individuals interested in relocating and businesses are encouraged to visit or inquire about policy changes.

Source Expatica.com

Will Donald Trump win the Republican nomination today?

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By David Van Reybrouck, Brussels

 

It may very well be that Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination today. And it may very well be that he wins the US presidential election later this year. And it may very well be that this has far less to do with the peculiarities of his person or the oddities of the American political system than it has to do with a dangerous road all Western democracies are taking, i.e. reducing democracy to elections.

 

Donald Trump is not the first, nor the last. In fact, his tactics, language and performance are not different from the ones deployed by the likes of Silvio Berlusconi or Geert Wilders: monopolizing mass media attention around a handful of provocative statements, dividing public opinion in cohorts of likers and dislikers, making sure that the campaign is not about the campaign but about themselves, using wry humour as a form of profiling against the establishment to which they nonetheless belong.

Though I am deeply concerned about what might happen to American democracy should Trump take office, to a European eye his entire campaign looks frustratingly familiar.

 

Donald Trump is not an oddity, but the very logical outcome of a democratic system that combines the 18th century procedure of voting with the 19th century idea of universal suffrage, the 20th century invention of mass media and the 21st century culture of instant feedback made possible through social media.

 

In a world where democracy boils down to periodical voting after a campaign dictated by commercial mass media and corporate sponsoring, elections are not helping democracy, but might quite simply be killing the very essence of democracy.

 

Elections were once introduced to make democracies possible. Now, they are in the process of becoming the worst obstacles to democracy.

 

Where is the reasoned voice of the people? Where do citizens get the chance to obtain the best possible information, engage with each other and decide collectively upon their future? Where can citizens -democracy was about them, right?- where do they get a chance to shape the future of their communities?

Not in the voting booth only. Isn’t it strange that the most civic of our duties is performed in the solitary penumbra of the voting booth? Is this the place where we are at our best? Without even talking to each other? Without listening to experts? Without necessarily knowing what is at stake? Without being invited to move beyond our individual gut feeling?

 

It is not about Donald Trump, this Super Tuesday, it is about us. It is about the question whether we really believe that democracy is government ‘of the people, for the people, by the people’. Are we willing to rethink the way we organize our democracies? Or shall we just watch its terminal phase?