Wednesday

23rd Aug 2017

Belgian far-right launch anti-immigrant website

Belgium's Flemish far-right party, the Vlaams Belang, has launched a website inciting people to denounce migrants suspected of criminal activity, such as working on the black or abusing social security benefits.

Spearheaded by a Flemish nationalist politician from Antwerp, Filip Dewinter, the project aims to collect tip-offs from anonymous citizens and pass them on to the police.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Belgian far-right party launched anti-immigration website on Tuesday (Photo: wikipedia)

Dewinter in a statement published on Tuesday (10 April) said the Belgian government is "sweeping under the carpet" problems caused by migrants, who are at the same time being "pampered and spoiled."

The Belgian site mimics a similar one launched in February in the Netherlands by Geert Wilders, the frontman for the Dutch far-right Party for Freedom (PVV). But whereas the PVV site specifically targets people from eastern and central Europe, Dewinter's initiative is broader in scope and includes asylum seekers.

A spokeswoman for Belgian interior minister Joelle Milquet told EUobserver that the Dewinter webpage is "illegal" and that the matter is being handled by the ministry of justice. "It is an invasion of privacy. It is not up to citizens to take the place of the police," she said.

Meanwhile, the director of Belgium's Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, Jozef De Witte, told Belgian radio that Dewinter "wants to shock and provoke." He likened the initiative to Nazi practices in the 1930s and to the Stasi secret police in east Germany in the Communist period.

The Polish embassy to Belgium said Warsaw condemns all forms of discrimination "as well as actions which violate or undermine such fundamental European freedoms as the right to free movement of persons."

Hundreds of thousands of people from eastern Europe have settled in Belgium since EU enlargement in 2004.

At the same time, the country has been struggling with an overcrowded asylum system.

Nearly 7,000 asylum seekers, including children, slept rough in the country's capital over the course of a cold winter in 2010. Belgian authorities were forced to erect and find temporary shelters for many of them. Others relied on the help of locals to escape the weather. At the time, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) denounced Belgian's dysfunctional facilities.

The Dutch anti-migrant website has been a source of controversy ever since it went up.

On 15 March MEPs from all political groups - aside from the nationalist EFD group - backed a resolution describing it as an "ill-intentioned initiative aimed at creating divisions within the society and obtaining political gains to the detriment of workers from central and eastern Europe."

It is still online, however.

For its part, the European Commission told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday that it is up to national authorities and their court systems to deal with initiatives that undermine European values.

"If there is no link whatsoever with European law, then there is no way the European Commission can get involved," said Matthew Newman, a spokesman for justice commissioner Viviane Reding.

MEPs unite over Dutch anti-immigrant hotline

MEPs from across the political spectrum have united against an anti-immigrant internet hotline set up by the party of controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Dutch far-right opens new, anti-EU website

In a replay of events earlier this year when it launched an anti-immigrant website, the Dutch far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) have set up a new protest portal - this time against the EU.

News in Brief

  1. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  2. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  3. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings
  4. Putin sends EU-blacklisted ambassador to US
  5. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  6. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  7. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  8. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference