Belgium Politics and Government Part III

In terms of security policy, the focus was on the threat posed by terrorism of Islamist origin. During a nationwide large-scale operation in mid-January 2015, the Belgian police were able to excavate a terrorist cell that is said to have planned an attack on police officers. Numerous weapons and explosives were seized. A total of 15 terrorist suspects were arrested and two suspected jihadists were killed. In another large-scale operation in June 2016, the police arrested 16 terrorist suspects, but the suspicion of an impending attack was not substantiated. In February 2015 a court in Antwerp sentenced the leader and seven other members of the Islamist organization »Sharia4Belgium«. The prosecution charged the group To have enlisted Belgians as jihadist warriors in Syria and to have sought an Islamist infiltration of the Belgian state. In November 2015, the part of the capital region of Brussels fell Molenbeek hit the headlines because they were suspected of being involved in the attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015. The government proclaimed the highest terror alert level for Brussels for several days, and numerous suspects were arrested in Belgium in November and December 2015. On March 18, 2016, during an anti-terrorist operation in Molenbeek, Salah Abdeslam (* 1989) Arrest, the prime suspect for the Paris attacks. Four days after the arrest, on March 22, 2016, at least 32 people were killed and more than 300 people were injured by suicide bombers at Zaventem Airport and the Brussels Maelbeek metro station. The terrorist attacks committed by the Islamic State (IS) were the worst in Belgium’s history to date. The highest terror warning level was once again declared for the entire country. The Belgian Air Force, which had already participated in attacks on IS in Iraq in 2014/15, resumed these attacks against IS in Iraq on July 1, 2016 and also flew attacks on IS positions in Syria.

According to petsinclude, there were several protests and strikes against the market-oriented reforms and austerity measures of the center-right government. In May 2016, for example, the unions demonstrated against wage cuts, the increase in the retirement age and plans to reform the 38-hour week. In October 2016, the regional parliament of Wallonia and the regional government led by the socialist Paul Magnette (* 1971) blocked the signing of the CETA agreement between the EU and Canada. Only after a few concessions did the Walloon MEPs approve the agreement on October 28, 2016. Only then could the Belgian central government give its approval in the European Council. On July 28, 2017, Magnette overturned by a constructive vote of no confidence. Willy Borsus (* 1962) from the Mouvement Réformateur (MR) was his successor as head of the Walloon government.


The media landscape is shaped by the division into the two large language communities. Press: In the last few decades there has been a strong process of concentration in the print media, in the course of which the number of daily newspapers has decreased significantly. Most of the 20 or so titles are parallel and secondary editions of the main titles. Five publishing and media groups dominate the market. The daily newspapers with the highest circulation in Dutch are “Het Laatste Nieuws” (founded in 1888) and “Het Nieuwsblad” (founded in 1923); they are followed at a greater distance by “De Standaard” (founded in 1914), “Gazet van Antwerpen” (founded in 1891) and “Het Belang van Limburg” (founded in 1879). “L’Avenir” (founded in 1829) and “Le Soir” (founded in 1887) are the largest French-language newspapers. The only German-language daily newspaper is »Grenz-Echo« (founded in 1927). In addition, around 30 weekly newspapers and magazines as well as the free daily newspaper “Metro” appear (bilingual). – The News agency “Agence Belga / Agentschap Belga” (founded in 1920) is majority owned by the daily newspapers. – Broadcasting: Public broadcasting is organized according to the three language communities: “Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep” (VRT), “Radio-Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française” (RTBF) and “Belgischer Rundfunk” (BRF; seat: Eupen). With »RTL-TVI« (French) and »VTM« (Flemish) started in 1987, started with private television; to date, RTL Group and Medialaan are the largest commercial television companies in Belgium. Pay TV, a large number of cable programs, TV stations from neighboring countries and numerous private radio stations complete the radio offer.


Antwerp (French Anvers), city ​​in Belgium, on the Scheldt, 88 km from the North Sea, with (2019) 526,000 residents.

The city has three universities (merged in 2003 to form the University of Antwerp) and many medieval monuments, a Gothic cathedral (with works by Peter Paul Rubens) and a Renaissance town hall. The port of Antwerp is one of the largest in Europe. The city has the world’s most important diamond exchange.

Antwerp became a city in 1291. In the 16th century it was the largest trading center on earth.

Belgium Politics and Government 3

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