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Bart De Wever, the mayor of Antwerp and the leader of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA, has said that Belgium needs a Homeland Security Department.
According to Expatica the leader of Belgium’s largest political party was speaking following a meeting of Flemish and Dutch mayors in Delft. The mayors had an opportunity to share experiences with regard to nationals leaving and returning from the civil war in Syria.
The Dutch anti-terrorism co-ordinator also attended the meeting. Mayor of Mechelen Bart Somers: “We can learn much from each other. Many Dutch mayors are confronted with youngsters who go and fight in Syria and then return.”
“How can you prevent this and stop youngsters from doing something stupid? How can you ensure they do not pose a threat to security when they return? How do we deal with them when they return and monitor their activities?”
Mr De Wever says that there is a role for local authorities in attempting to prevent youngsters from leaving to go and fight, but he believes that youngsters who have been radicalised should be monitored by the national and the European authorities.
EU Interior ministers meeting in Milan have just agreed a number of measures. Systematic checks will be made on EU nationals at the EU’s external borders. The EU’s anti-terrorism coordinator, the Belgian Gilles de Kerckhove, says exchange of information via the Schengen Information System will also be facilitated. Efforts will also be made to clamp down on violent radicalism on the internet.