Fight against terrorism

A comprehensive and inclusive approach

Belgium supports and promotes a comprehensive and inclusive approach to terrorism and attaches particular importance to the balance between preventive aspects, including rehabilitation, and repressive aspects. Such an approach requires close  cooperation and coordination between the various actors, policy areas and levels of power from the federal to the local level. This inclusive approach ("whole of government") is coordinated by the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis and involves numerous partners to deal with all facets of the problem, in particular the FPS Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice, Finance and Defence as well as the intelligence services, the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (CFI/CTIF), the federal and local police, the public prosecutors' offices, the Regions and Communities, and the municipalities. These institutions are all committed to common purposes: protecting citizens and infrastructures against terrorist attacks; countering radicalisation and violent extremism; dismantling terrorist networks and combatting their financing; prosecuting, punishing and reintegrating into society perpetrators of terrorist offences; providing support to victims of terrorist acts.

A successful approach to terrorism implies in-house coordination as well as thorough international cooperation. The  network of Belgian diplomatic and consular missions plays a key role in this respect, by providing relevant information about the ongoing global developments in the fight against terrorism and the monitoring of the cooperation with international partners.

National policy

In order to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism, an ‘Actieplan Radicalisme’ (Plan R) was drawn up in 2005 and revised in 2015. Its summary is available online. Local task forces develop individualised pathways, in coordination with a national task force. The Brussels Region, the Flemish Community (summary in Dutch available here) and the French Community (summary in French available here) have drawn up their own action plans which are carried out in coordination with Plan R.

Moreover, specific action plans were developed for addressing radicalisation in prisons and for combating violent extremism in the Brussels Canal District.

At national level, the fight against terrorism was recently further reinforced. In 2015, the Federal Government announced a number of counter-terrorism measures. In 2017, 28 additional security measures were taken. Furthermore, in 2015 the National Security Council was established, a body responsible for ensuring coordination between competent services and for setting general priorities.

The overall approach of radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism has been described in the federal Framework Memorandum on Integral Security (note-cadre de Sécurité intégrale/Kadernota Integrale Veiligheid) and in the National Security Plan (Nationaal Veiligheidsplan).

International cooperation

Belgium is actively involved in the international cooperation on the fight against terrorism, at the European and international levels. Within the FPS Foreign Affairs, the Directorate-General for Multilateral Affairs and Globalisation coordinates Belgium's contribution to this international cooperation, including Belgian positions in this field and the related communication, and  ensures that Belgium abides by its international obligations and reports, if requested, to the competent authorities in international organisations.

Within the European Union, Belgium works closely with the other member states and EU-institutions. An important guideline is the counter-terrorism strategy approved by the EU Council in 2005. More information on this strategy is available here. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015 in Paris, the Heads of State and Government adopted a Declaration on the global EU approach to the fight against terrorism and radicalisation on 12 February 2015. The Declaration contains measures divided into three chapters: ensuring the safety of the citizens, preventing radicalisation and preserving values and cooperation with international partners. Significant efforts have been deployed over the last two years to implement these measures.

Belgium is a member of the Global Coalition against Daesh, together with more than 80 countries from all continents. Belgium is an active member of the 5 working groups. Our armed forces participate in military operations. Belgium is also engaged in the working groups ”Foreign Terrorist Fighters” and ”Counter Finance”, and contributes to the stabilisation activities of the Coalition, whether through the military forces provided or through financial support for stabilisation in Syria and Iraq. Finally, Belgium participates to the ‘Stabilisation’ working group, where it provides financial support with regard to humanitarian aid and stabilisation in Syria and Iraq.

Belgium attaches great importance to international cooperation in the fight against terrorism within the UN framework and placed it high on its agenda as a non-permanent member of the Security Council (2019-2020). It actively participates to the global counter-terrorism strategy and the implementation of the relevant resolutions. It has ratified most UN anti-terrorism conventions and supports various activities and projects such as the UN Secretary General's Action Plan for the Prevention of Violent Extremism and the initiatives of the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch, the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council and its Executive Directorate (CTED).