The alarm caused by the delivery of an envelope containing an unidentified white powder to the EU Commission in Brussels has been lifted, authorities said, after the powder turned out to represent no danger.
The envelope was found on the 13th floor of the Berlaymont building in Brussels, where EU commissioners have their offices and meeting rooms. Initial reports that a fire had broken out the building have been dismissed as false.
The offices on that floor, including those of commissioners themselves, as well as their staff and were cleared and contained by Civil Defence and the Brussels fire service.
However, upon further inspection, it turned out the envelope in question contained only a harmless substance. Only one functionary came in contact with the envelope, while many others who may have been exposed to danger were ruled out.
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Emergency services, including the Hasmat team of the Brussels fire service and the civil defence service, were stood down. One member of Commission staff thought to have come in contact with the suspect package was tested and given new clothing.
"The investigation has shown that the powder is harmless," said Walter Derieuw, spokesperson for the Brussels fire brigade.