US nuclear weapons give Belgium a seat at ‘big boy table,’ top military official says
Share article:
Share article:

US nuclear weapons give Belgium a seat at ‘big boy table,’ top military official says

The Kleine Brogel military airbase in the province of Limburg. Credit: © Belga

Reports that Belgium stores United States nuclear weapons have sparked debate among politicians and top government officials over the country’s “worst-kept secret,” with an unnamed defence official arguing that keeping the warheads meant the country had a seat at the “big boy table.”

Years of neither confirm nor deny policy observed by federal and military authorities went up in smoke after a draft document published on the NATO Parliamentary Assembly website confirmed that U.S. nuclear warheads were stored in a Belgian airbase.

Seizing on the report, Flemish green party, Groen, called on federal authorities to allow a debate to be held on the matter, with one party representative questioning whether our country should continue storing the weapons for the U.S.-powered military alliance.

“Do we really want weapons of mass destruction in our territory with someone like Donald Trump at the buttons?” Groen’s Wouter De Vriendt said on broadcast radio.

The green party’s stance was echoed by its socialist counterpart, the sp.a, with two members of the party taking to Twitter to reiterate demands for nuclear weapons to be removed from Belgium.

However, an anonymous military source said Belgium’s stance on the international stage benefited from the arrangement.

“Nuclear weapons in our country do not cost our country anything — and we sit at the table with the big boys,” an unnamed military official said, according to De Morgen, swinging back at budgetary arguments advanced by a sp.a member.

The official further argued that removing the warheads from our country would prove costlier than keeping them in, saying Belgium would have to pour additional funds into the defence budget if the government decides to heed calls for nuclear decommissioning.

Both the sp.a and Groen said they will raise the issue during a defence parliamentary committee slated for Wednesday.

As the news of the revelations picked up steam on Belgian media, a spokesperson for the defence ministry said “we cannot and should not speak about it,” suggesting that the party’s demands may fall on deaf ears.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Namur Marathon relaunches after two years on hold
The next edition of the Namur Marathon will take place on April 24, 2022, its organisers announced on Friday, as they also opened registrations. ...
Lidl goes on strike: Half of supermarkets in Belgium closes on Saturday
One in two Lidl shops remained closed on Saturday morning, Lidl spokeswoman Isabelle Colbrandt said. Staff have been on strike for several days to ...
€220 million: Largest ever lottery prize in Europe won in France
A record-breaking €220 million Euromillions jackpot was won on Friday by a player in France, the French gaming authority (FDJ) has announced. The ...
Antwerp exhibition shows first photos after city bombed in 1944
An open-air exhibition in Antwerp will show off never before seen photos as part of a commemoration of the first V-bomb to hit the city, 77 years ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Asylum centre in Brussels goes on strike on Monday
A 24-hour strike will take place on Monday at the Petit Château center for asylum seekers in Brussels, De Tijd newspaper reported on Saturday. The ...
European Parliament wants to sue the Commission for delaying rule of law conditionality
In a rare move on Thursday, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voted for the Parliament to take the European Commission to court ...
Mayor wants to close two Brussels bars where alleged sexual assaults took place
Ixelles' Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said that he’d like to close the two bars that employed a man accused of raping multiple patrons, ...
‘Untenable’: Mayor says situation at Brussels North station is out of control
The situation at Brussels North Station is no longer tenable, Schaerbeek's mayor Cécile Jodogne (Défi) says. Drug dealing, homelessness, ...
Suicide second-leading cause of death among European youth
Suicide is the number two killer among young people living in Europe, a recent Unicef report on the state of their mental health found. The ...
‘Too little, too late’: Brussels mayors criticise CST implementation
After a two week delay, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in several situations in Brussels from today (Friday). Some mayors blame a ...
Sciensano expert warns of rising Covid-19 cases this winter
The return of colder weather and the relaxing of health measures are giving rise to new Covid-19 contaminations and hospitalisations around Belgium, ...