Is Belgium becoming a “narco-state”?

Laura Van Lerberghe

Attempted kidnapping of a minister, shootings and repeated violence, particularly in the Antwerp region… For several months, criminal acts linked to drug trafficking have been increasing in Belgium. Hence this question that some are beginning to ask themselves: is Belgium becoming a “narco-state”? Explanations from Europe 1.

It is a Belgian magistrate who says it: “the kingdom can become a ‘narco-state'”. The cause of such a statement: the abortive attempt to kidnap the Minister of Justice. Europe 1 pulled the thread of this story. This leads directly to Antwerp. This port has become the hub of drug trafficking in Europe. A business of 60 billion euros, the equivalent of the annual pension budget in Belgium. Powerful cartels grew, violence too. Firearms, arson, targeted attacks against homes and businesses… In Antwerp or Brussels, mayors are afraid of this phenomenon.

The Belgian Minister of Justice placed under high protection

The Minister of the Interior is on the defensive. Annelies Verlinden promises the creation of 195 investigator posts in two years. “We are investing more in the police, more in human resources, more investment and also in digital technology. We have to fight because crime must not destabilize the state,” she said.

This is the challenge facing the Belgian authorities: to keep control of the economy and prevent the state from being eaten away by corruption. For this, the prosecutors do not hesitate to condemn severely. Proof that their work hinders the traffickers: after his attempted kidnapping, the Minister of Justice has to live in hiding, placed under high protection for a week.

Methods of South American cartels

Cartels no longer hesitate to import South American methods into Europe. To deal with it, there is no secret. According to police unionists like Thierry Belin, “we must act now”. “It would take about 1,000 additional investigators. We are on the bone and we continue to gnaw. At some point, we will have to find solutions because we will not get out of it,” he warns. A year ago, the dismantling of an encrypted communications network had made it possible to arrest more than 1,200 people. A success, but also a source of concern since it had led to the discovery of mobile torture chambers, unprecedented in Europe.

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