Discord, Power Struggles Feed Security Issues in Brussels, Europe

The Brussels’ attacks of March 22, 2016 pointed out problems with security in the capital of the European Union. The safety of millions of people depend on strong security systems. Can leaders find a middle ground politically to put that security at the forefront?

Is it the discord among the relatively small nation of Brussels that lead to security issues, and if so, what does that portend for the EU and the rest of the world?

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Belgium is home to 11 million people; the European Union in total is home to 503 million people. Belgium’s prime minister is Charles Michel, a Dutch-speaking leader of that nation’s largest political party, a party that has accused the opposing French-speaking party of being soft on the Islamic State. In addition to Dutch and French as languages in the nation, German is also spoken.

The discord within Belgium and its political parties is not a recent phenomena, with the nation once having gone almost 600 days without a government in place due to the various parties’ inability to arrive at a coalition. It has been in recent years, according to “The Washington Post,” discord among the various Belgian political parties has lead to security concerns, especially in the Mollenbeek area of Brussels that has become a haven for radicals.

The political and ethnic divisions within the small nation have resulted in police and security forces with varied allegiances and alliances – and with no single unit having access to all available information or intelligence.

As an example of the continuing security issues in Brussels, a “March Against Fear” rally planned for Sunday, March 27, 2016 had to be postponed for security reasons. Rally organizers stated that the intention of the rally was to show the solidarity of the Belgian people and their collective refusal to give in to terrorism. Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur requested that the group postpone the rally saying, “Let us allow the security services to their work and that the march – which we, too, want to take part in – be delayed for several weeks.”

The “March Against Fear” organizers agreed to the postponement, saying that the safety of the citizens was of utmost importance and asked those interested in participating in the rally not to come to Brussels on March 27, but to wait for a newly-announced date.

The divisions within Belgium are a microcosm of the divisions within the other 27 countries of the EU. While not every nation has such strong political divides, most waffle between maintaining their sovereignty and working together as one unit, the European Union.

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