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Counterterrorism in Belgium: Key challenges and policy options

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Following the terrorist attacks in Paris (November 2015) and Brussels (March 2016), Belgium’s counterterrorism policy has been heavily criticized – domestically and worldwide. 

A number of these criticisms were overly exaggerated (so-called ‘Belgium-bashing’), and they were therefore quickly discarded.Yet, some criticisms pointed to real underlying problems, which required a serious response. Starting from this observation, a group of scholars convened by the Egmont Institute undertook the exercise to assess Belgium’s counterterrorism policy in a critical but nuanced manner. This report does not aim for exhaustiveness, but it does focus on some priority aspects, and provides a number of recommendations to policy-makers. The various chapters cover: an evaluation of the 30 measures announced by the government; the need for more community policing; the relevance of counterterrorism financing; the terror-crime nexus; and an overview of the ‘external dimension’ of Belgium’s counterterrorism efforts.

(Photo credit: Wikimedia)