2013 in Brussels

Brussels is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The region has a metropolitan area with a population of over 1.8 million. Since the end of the Second World War, Brussels has been a major centre for international politics and has become the polyglot home of numerous international organizations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants. The European Union and the commission is located in Brussels.

The Freja Forum in Brussels was organized by financial and administrative support of the European Commission and in cooperation with DG Enlargement, European Economic and Social Committee, Bernadotte Academy, Palmecenter and Freja Academy.
86 different organisations and 160 persons participated in the Forum.
The theme for Freja Forum 2013 was Democracy, Equal Opportunities and Challenges of European Civil Society Organisations.

In the programme were three seminars:

  • Facing challenges of housing and social inclusion
  • The role of women’s organisations in public private partnership
  • Social Entrepreneurship a tool of CSO’s and social excluded groups

Parallel workshops were arranged:

  • Aspect of youth situation in Balkan Countries
  • Housing and social inclusion
  • CSOs financial situation and aid support
  • Mobility projects in the Balkan Coalition
  • Sustainable future financial initiatives for CSO:s
  • Best practices on social entrepreneurships.

In Freja forum in Brussels two out of three participants were women. This year shows an increasing share of men compared to the three antecedent years.
There has been an interesting shift of ages among the participants. The share of age 50-59 has decreased again, and the share of younger participants, 30-39 has increased. In 2011, there was a special focus on young audiences with special seminars and workshops. This turned into a high participation from young people in 2011, and now results are comparable to the previous years.
Still, the civil sector represents the major part of the participants.

According to the Audience response system, The Freja Barometer, as many as 66% indicate that they do not trust the politicians in their country. The percentage expressing strong doubts has also increased over the past two years.
This lack of trust in politicians is also evident in the share who say they are interested in running for a political position. A declining share says they are interested in and the number of negative has steadily increased.