Thursday

26th Apr 2018

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 for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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. UN expects over $4bn in pledges for Syria
  2. Commission wants more public data made available for reuse
  3. Study: Brexit will hit all European farmers
  4. European media face rise in 'verbal violence' from politicians
  5. Greenland PM to keep power despite poll slump
  6. Commissioner optimistic on FYROM name solution
  7. Italian court keeps NGO migrant rescue boat docked
  8. German Jews warned not to wear skullcap in public

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  11. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  12. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip

Latest News

  1. Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
  2. EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
  3. Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs, Italian admiral says
  4. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work
  5. Time for EU to take charge of global health research agenda
  6. EU in race to set global Artificial Intelligence ethics standards
  7. Juncker delays air quality action due to busy agenda
  8. Spain makes bid for EU naval HQ