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The Brussels N-VA launches a ten-point “policy shock” plan on problems at Brussels South Station
The Brussels N-VA group is launching a ten-point plan to tackle the crime nuisance in the Brussels train stations, specifically Brussels South Station. At the same time, the party denounces the obvious lack of responsibility of the Brussels political majority. “It is up to Brussels Minister-President Vervoort to take measures, but he looks away and passes the hot potato around,” says Brussels MP Mathias Vanden Borre.
“However, the powers in this case are clear,” says Vanden Borre. “The local and regional levels are responsible for security. It is now up to Minister-President Vervoort. He has the resources and the authority needed, but the political will is lacking.”
Vanden Borre is referring to the European so-called Summit Fund, whereby Brussels receives EUR 55 million annually to ensure security during European summits. “That money can be perfectly used to improve safety at Brussels stations. Brussels South Station is the international gateway to our country. But Brussels uses that money for completely different things, such as drinking fountains.”
Everyone is authorised; no one is responsible
Mathias says that the fragmentation of authority is also a direct reason for the current problems. “Everyone is authorised; no one is responsible. This is an intra-Brussels problem. We have been pointing out the detrimental consequences of the 19 different municipalities for years. The repressive measures used in each Brussels municipality stops at its municipal border. It is precisely the Minister-President’s job to ensure a unified security policy. Nothing happens because of the fragmentation.”
In the station plan, the N-VA is calling for such things as a regional ban on alcohol consumption, gatherings, begging and tent camps around stations, for permanent police posts in the major railway stations, as well as a for task force to strengthen cooperation and coordination among the local police districts, the federal police, Securail and the railway police. In addition, the N-VA also wants to ban street prostitution and only tolerate window prostitution in a concentrated area that is demarcated.
“Local shops and catering facilities in areas around the station that generate nuisance must be monitored and dealt with more rigorously. Finally, the federal government must provide the Brussels public prosecutor’s office with more resources and personnel,” says Mathias, expanding on the plan.
Time for action
“It is time for action. This situation results from problems that have accumulated for years and were finally derailed because of the laissez-faire attitude of the Brussels political majority. We must restore order in the short term. Tough action is needed,” Mathias Vanden Borre concludes.