Belgium in Brief: A Brussels break to blow the budget

Belgium in Brief: A Brussels break to blow the budget
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Bursting with flavours and converging cultures, Brussels has something for everyone. City guides are full of recommendations of things to do and see for all tastes and interests. Whether hitting the town or doing it on a shoestring, "48 hours in Brussels" proposes pages of search results tailored to any budget.

Well, almost any budget. Because with President Biden touching down in the European capital later today, even the most lavish city trip conceivable is knocked squarely out the park by the seven-figure price tag on the premier's visit.

€6.8 million is the estimated cost of parading the President around town with a phalanx of security forces flown in specially for the occasion. This works out at a staggering €2368 for every 60 seconds the leader spends on Belgian soil. Viewed that way, EU representatives wouldn't want to waste a second of the President's company.

Unfortunately for him, the trip is strictly business with the city's highlights trumped by engagements at the NATO headquarters and EU institutions. Each movement of the President is carefully choreographed with the surrounding area all but shut down as the imposing cavalcade passes undisturbed from meeting to meeting.

Indeed, the whole exercise is sure to be quite a spectacle – almost an attraction of its own for those who are able to get close. Which is exactly what police are trying to avoid as roads are blocked and public are urged to take the metro instead.

Of course, as the beating heart of the EU, Brussels is no stranger to rolling out the red carpet for world leaders and delegates. Yet the sheer excess of security measures never fails to amaze, from the retinue of personal staff to the fleet of specially-adapted vehicles that accompany the President.

A bit over the top? Let @Orlando_tbt know.

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