Saturday

29th Apr 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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. Oxford-Studie besorgt über 'Schrott' News in Frankreich
  2. Alte Freundschaft zwischen Le Pen und Putin
  3. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  4. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  5. One year later: EU right to open internet still virtual
  6. Rethinking Europe's relationship with Turkey
  7. Mob storms Macedonian parliament
  8. MEPs retain secrecy on office spending