Sunday

23rd Feb 2020

Evidence of new terrorist plot in EU capital

Belgium has raised the terrorist threat level for police stations in Brussels following intelligence of another jihadist plot.

Authorities on Tuesday (29 December) raised the level from two to three in measures to last until 4 January.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The move means: there’ll be armed officers outside police stations; opening hours and public access will be restricted; officers can go on patrol only in pairs; and police auxillaries can only move around with an armed escort.

The alert comes after house raids in the Belgian and EU capital on Sunday and Monday led to two arrests, as well as seizures of computer equipment, Islamic State (IS) propaganda, and military clothes, but not weapons.

According to an internal police note, dated Monday, and seen by the Belga news agency, there is “a possible and credible threat of Paris-type attacks” against: visitors to the Grand Place, in Brussels’ tourist centre; the main police station adjoining the square; and against police and military personnel in general.

The attack was to be carried out in the New Year holiday period. But it was not said to be "imminent," which would have merited a level four alert.

Belgium in general is, in any case, on level three since November, when security services expected a Paris-type attack against shopping centres. But police facilities had been left on level two.

The general level three alert means soldiers in combat fatigues continue to patrol the streets in Brussels' city centre, putting a dampener on the atmosphere, with shops, bars, and restaurants less busy than normal.

The sense of alarm comes after IS-inspired gunmen killed 130 people in Paris on 13 November, with several of the attackers linked to Belgium.

But the Brussels military patrols have also become part of normality, with one soldier recently pictured with a shopping bag.

Other European cities, including London and Moscow, are also taking extra security precautions after an unnamed intelligence service uncovered signs of a Paris-type plan to attack New Year’s revellers.

Belgium has the highest concentration in the world per capita of nationals who went to fight with IS in Syria.

France, Belgium step up security cooperation

Two months and a half after the Paris attacks, the French and Belgian PMs agreed on closer cooperation as the two countries faced "the same terrorist threat".

Insight

How big is Germany's far-right problem?

The Hanau shooting was a national wake-up call to the scale of far-right extremism in Germany, from violent individuals to political hate speech.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  2. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  3. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  4. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  5. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win
  6. Belgian CEOs raise alarm on political crisis
  7. Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism
  8. EU leaders' budget summit drags on overnight

Polish 'LGBTI-free zones' not ok, says EU commission

The European Commissioner for equality Helena Dalli has said the distribution of 'LGBTI-free zones' stickers or the adoption of anti-LGBTI resolutions cannot be allowed. Some 86 towns in Poland have so far declared themselves 'LGBTI-free zones'.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  2. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  3. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  4. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  5. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap
  6. Sassoli repeats EU budget rejection warning
  7. Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy
  8. Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us