Tagged Belgium

Brussels attacked

In recent months and years we have got used to witnessing attacks on Brussels, the city symbolizing the centre of the European Union that national leaders in government and opposition love to criticize for everything that goes wrong or is unpopular on the European continent. Today, though, 22 March 2016, it was not a metaphoric but a coordinated literal attack on the city of Brussels that dominated the headlines…

The hideous and deplorable attacks in Paris on November 13th have unleashed a wave of fear throughout Europe triggering the lockdown of the Belgian capital Brussels. The clocks were pointing at 1am on Friday 20th, when the Belgian government decided to raise the terror alert to its maximum, 4 out of 4, due to a “serious and imminent” threat similar to the tragic events in Paris claimed by the Islamic State, “with multiples attacks in different places,” said the Belgian prime minister Charles Michel.

Returning from a visit to the United States, where he took part in the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, the Belgian Security and Home Affairs Minister, Jan Jambon, announced this week the creation of a new database on jihadists. The database will include information on the 380 persons known to have connections with terrorists groups affiliated with ISIS. A delicate balance needs to be struck between law enforcement and respect for human rights.

Do you remember this well-known French film which staged the cultural dialogue and the festive atmosphere associated with the Erasmus student exchange program? Twelve years ago, “L’Auberge espagnole” popularized what millions of young students in various countries of Europe (and even beyond the borders of the EU) have known now for over 25 years. Although the famous European program encourages student and professional mobility within the Union, a genuine cultural diversity and the development of a sense of European citizenship, it is now necessary to go further so that the Europe of tomorrow is not just for the few.

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