Presented in a thematic manner, the aim of this synopsis is to paint a picture of French- and Dutch-speaking Brussels youth between the ages of 12 and 25, based on a great diversity of data and academic research published since 2005. The institutional and linguistic complexity which characterises the situation in Brussels and the production of research makes this type of exercise absolutely necessary. This inventory of knowledge regarding youth in Brussels sheds light on their extraordinary diversity and their vulnerability, as well as on the work to be carried out in order to fill the gaps and improve the information available for the stakeholders in the field. This synopsis therefore also constitutes a proposed research agenda.
This article is aimed at defining the role of migratory movements in the dynamics of the sociodemographic transformation of neighbourhoods in the Brussels-Capital Region, and at making some observations in terms of political implications. There are several significant summarising elements which may be drawn from this analysis of complex migratory movements in the Region. The poorest territories in the city – the ‘poor area’ – are at the crossroads of diverging migratory movements, marked in particular by the arrival of new immigrants from poor or intermediate countries and the departure of resident populations. Nevertheless, the analysis also shows that these neighbourhoods may not be reduced to having a transit function, given that a significant proportion of their population remains there. In contrast, the richest parts of the city, located in the southeast quadrant of the Region, have experienced much less massive migratory movements. They are not home to newcomers or to households leaving the disadvantaged areas of the city. They thus appear to be closed for the most part to population movements.
The French-speaking professional training system in Brussels significantly improves the opportunities for the professional integration of participants, in particular with respect to vocational training. The possible impact of this – particularly as a second chance for young people with the lowest qualifications – is, however, limited by the recruitment practices of companies. While they generally favour those who have undergone vocational training, other criteria are taken into consideration when there is a shortage of job vacancies. The most vulnerable youth benefit less from their vocational training, especially in terms of job stabilisation. It therefore seems necessary to combine economic development and the safeguarding of educational pathways in order to take action against unemployment in Brussels.
After examining certain elements in the debate regarding the control of access to the educational institutions of communities whose language is in a fragile situation, the author presents the contrasting choices made in this respect over the past forty years by the French-speaking minority in Canada depending on whether or not it has the status of regional majority, as well as some of the consequences. The Canadian experience illustrates two approaches, namely that of the protection of a fragile minority by limiting access to the educational institutions it controls to people who have a historical or special connection to the language which defines it, or the dynamic use of schooling in an objective to transform ethnolinguistic relationships. Both approaches have some relevance. However, the first is clearly defensive and should be limited to groups whose vulnerability – which is not historical yet nevertheless present – is still recognised. The second has many more advantages and testifies to a dynamic definition of belonging and culture, which guarantees significant future development.
'The world in Brussels. Brussels in the world' is the theme of the 2015 edition of the Night of Knowledge on Brussels [check the programme], on Friday, 27 November at the Kaaitheater. By means of short presentations and discussions, supported by scientific data, the evening will provide the opportunity to obtain information on and to debate about the different aspects of the internationalisation of the Region: insertion within advanced service networks, the informal economy, educational segregation, juvenile delinquency, contemporary art or the role of universities in welcoming refugees.
Prior to this moment of exchange and reflection, Brussels Studies is publishing in its number 94, a short note in which Jean-Pierre Hermia (Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis) and Christian Vandermotten (Université Libre de Bruxelles) review two key factors: the characteristics of the presence of foreigners in the region and the place and the specificity of Brussels in relation to other major European cities.