Saturday

23rd Mar 2019

Police uncover plot to attack EU commission HQ

  • Belgian police uncovered an alleged plot to attack the European Commission (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The European Commission headquarters in Brussels was going to be the target of an alleged terrorist plot, according to media reports.

Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday (22 September) say police found a cache of weapons and explosives in an apartment in Brussels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

One of the two suspects, both Dutch nationals of Turkish origin, is said to have links to Shariah4Belgium, a Belgian radical Salafist organisation.

The couple, said to be residents in The Hague, were detained early August at the Brussels airport after returning from Syria via Turkey.

A European Commission spokesperson said they are aware of the plot but had received no warnings or threats, reports the Guardian.

Authorities, for their part, are increasingly stepping up efforts to contain possible threats from returning nationals who have fought alongside Islamist militia groups in Syria and Iraq.

Governments are concerned some of the more radical may be seeking to stage attacks on their home turf.

In Belgium, around a quarter of the 400 nationals who have left to fight have since returned. Most are entering the warzone in Syria through by crossing over the Turkish border.

Belgian paper L’Echo says police are actively tracking around 90 of the returned fighters.

"Our starting point is that among them, one out of nine aim to carry out an attack,” an unnamed source told the paper.

“That is a conservative estimate, if you also take into account the people who help them,” added the source.

Some are said to have joined the Islamic State (Isis), the extremist group behind recent beheadings of reporters and aid workers.

The revelations about the commission come on the heels of an earlier terror attack in the Belgian capital over the summer where a gunman killed four people at the Jewish Museum.

French national Mehdi Nemmouche is suspected to behind the gun killings and is now awaiting trial on "terrorist murder" charges.

The 29-year old was arrested in late May in Marseilles and is said to have links with radical militia groups after having spent a year in Syria.

Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election

Smer, Slovakia's ruling party, wants the country's media to give politicians a right-of-reply, or face stiff fines. Advocates of a free press are alarmed, and it poses a problem for the European Commission, whose vice-president is a Smer presidential candidate.

Orban rejects Weber's plea to stop anti-EU posters

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has pledged to put up new anti-migrant posters - despite hopes in his centre-right EU family that he might "apologise and put an end" to the campaign.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  2. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  3. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures
  4. Study: Brexit to cost EU citizens up to €40bn annually
  5. NGOs demand France halt Saudi arm sales
  6. Report: Germany against EU net-zero emissions target
  7. Former top EU official takes job at law firm
  8. Draft text of EU summit has Brexit extension until 22 May

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  2. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  3. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  4. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  5. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines
  6. Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election
  7. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  8. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us