Wednesday

16th Jan 2019

Brussels attack hits all of Europe, EU leaders say

  • Hollande: "War against terrorism must be conducted across Europe" in "cold blood". (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

[Updated 16.45] EU leaders said the bomb attacks in Brussels Tuesday (22 March), which killed at least 34 people and injured dozens of others, were "an attack on our open democratic society".

In a joint statement, the EU heads of state and government and the leaders of the EU institutions said they would be "united and firm in the fight against hatred, violent extremism and terrorism".

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

  • EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini left a press conference in Amman in tears. (Photo: eeas.europa.eu)

Earlier in the day, French leader Francois Hollande said the bomb blasts in Brussels targeted “the whole of Europe”, as messages of sympathy poured in from round the world.

Speaking on TV after an emergency cabinet meeting in Paris, Hollande said: “Through the attacks in Brussels, the whole of Europe has been hit.

He said the “war against terrorism” must be conducted across Europe in “cold blood”.

In the Belgian and EU capital, prime minister Charles Michel described the events as “blind, violent, cowardly attacks”.

He said his priority was treating victims. But he said it was difficult to secure the sites of the attacks or specify the exact number of casualties at that point.

He did not comment on whether the attacks were connected to last week's arrest in Brussels of Saleh Abdeslam, who took part in the Paris attacks in November 2015

Belgian officials said it was an obvious assumption, but they had no proof as yet.

Amid scant news on the victims, the Slovenian foreign ministry said one of its diplomats was among the people injured in the explosion at the Maelbeek metro station in the EU district in Brussels.

EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini broke down in tears during a press conference in Amman in Jordan.

She said it was a “very difficult day for Europe” before leaving the podium.

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said: “We all stand together with our ally Belgium on this dark day.”

Other EU leaders echoed Hollande’s statement.

"Brussels was hit hard. Belgium was hit hard. Europe was hit hard,” said Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, who holds the rotating EU presidency.

“Europe is under attack,” Irish leader Enda Kenny said.

Swedish PM Stefan Loefven said: “It is an attack on democratic Europe.”

Several European capitals announced they would step up security on transport networks in reaction to the events.

France said it was deploying 1,600 additional security forces. France, Germany and the Netherlands said they were also coordinating extra security checks on the Belgian border.

EU suspends meetings after Brussels blasts

The EU commission and EU Council have suspended most meetings after deadly bomb blasts in Brussels, but some staff insisted they'd carry on working.

Brussels on high alert after deadly explosions

Explosions hit Brussels airport and at least one metro station in the city. The authorities confirm deaths and injuries at the airport and blame suicide attackers.

EU reconsiders anti-terrorism response

An emergency meeting of interior ministers could take place Thursday. But border security, use of databases and EU cooperation were already on the table last autumn.

Belgium in mourning after 'murderous madness'

The country will "not be the same," the king of Belgium said after the attacks, claimed by Islamic State, at Brussels' Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station killed over 30 people.

Opinion

Living with terror

If you think it’s hard for adults to cope with the aftermath of the Brussels terrorist attacks, just think how hard it is for children.

News in Brief

  1. British PM scrapes through no confidence vote
  2. Spanish PM calls for EU gender equality strategy
  3. Farage says bigger Brexit majority if second referendum
  4. Macron starts 'grand debate' tour after yellow vests protests
  5. Barnier: up to London to take Brexit forward
  6. Stimulus still needed, ECB's Draghi says in final report
  7. May's Brexit deal defeated by 230 votes
  8. German economy hit by global economic turbulence

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  2. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  3. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift
  4. German spies to monitor far-right AfD party
  5. On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?
  6. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  7. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025
  8. MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us