The time of consciously standing by and doing nothing about our security must also come to an end in Brussels

20 November 2015
The time of consciously standing by and doing nothing about our security must also come to an end in Brussels

Following the recent attacks in Paris, a debate took place in the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region about combatting violent radicalisation and terrorism. "All independent experts are saying that the six police zones of the region must be combined into one single zone if we are to be effective in our fight against crime. However, the mayors of the nineteen municipalities located in the region are blocking this move. For them, it is not about the proximity of the police to citizens, but about the proximity of the police to mayors and their authority", says Johan Van den Driessche, N-VA group leader in the Brussels Parliament. " Civic integration Flanders has a policy for civic integration. This is a guided and targeted form of social integration for people of foreign origin. The intention is that the newcomers are provided with a valuable place in society by including them instead of excluding them. Civic integration, which includes language lessons and civic integration courses, was brought about by the participation of the N-VA in the Flemish Government since 2004 and the appointment of a Minister for Civic Integration. Civic integration in Brussels is an inefficient, Walloon-inspired affair for which Brussels has refused to draw on the successful Flemish civic integration programme", adds Liesbet Dhaene, MP of the Brussels N-VA. "With the result that newcomers in Brussels are still not obliged to follow a civic integration programme."

The N-VA subscribes to an inclusive society, but whoever does not subscribe to the values of the Enlightenment cannot form part of this society. It is the N-VA's firm belief that the former governments' culture of denial, censorship caused by political correctness, lax policies on security and civic integration, the inefficient organisation of the local police services, as well as immigration and regularisation without civic integration, are the principle causes of the downward spiral we are currently experiencing.

No less than ten years ago already, journalist Hind Fraihi, after a spell undercover, indicated that Molenbeek was a breeding ground for Muslim terrorist activities. But her words of warning were greeted with derision, including by the mayor at the time. This culture of denial means that even today it is very complicated to have a debate in the Brussels Parliament about the unconditional acceptance of our Enlightenment values.

Conscious neglect

The structure of Brussels is too complex and inefficient. "When the Minister-President states that complexity is part of the DNA of Brussels, this translates as consciously Doing Nothing About it", according to Johan Van den Driessche. The N-VA is demanding that, following the recent events in Paris, we change this DNA and finally adopt an effective security policy. The time of consciously doing nothing, of laxness and rights without obligations, must come to an end, and that means for Brussels as well.

The civic integration policy in Brussels is not just inefficient, but above all a Walloon-inspired affair. Not only did Brussels not react until Wallonia had made civic integration mandatory in 2013, but it also based itself on the limited Walloon programme. Flanders now has more than ten years of experience with a civic integration programme that gives pride of place to the norms and values of our society. "Flemish ministers Gatz and Homans are asking that Brussels jointly - i.e. together with the French Community Commission and with Flanders - works out the terms of the Brussels civic integration programme. But does Brussels want to collaborate with Flanders?", Liesbeth Dhaene asks. "That remains to be seen …"

"I wish Mrs Schepmans, the current mayor of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, much determination and courage. May she be the symbol of the message that the time of denial and laxness is a thing of the past", concludes Van den Driessche.

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