Belgian Justice Minister to propose automatic €1,000 fine for cocaine users

Belgian Justice Minister to propose automatic €1,000 fine for cocaine users
Credit: Federal Justice Minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne. Credit: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga.

Cocaine users caught in possession will receive an automatic €1,000 fine which will be deducted from their bank accounts, following a proposal by Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.

Under Van Quickenborne's new proposal, users caught in possession of cocaine but are refusing to pay the fine would no longer be required to attend court, as "not to overburden the courts." Instead, the Public Prosecutor's Office would deliver a so-called "order to pay" to FPS Finance, with the fine automatically taken out of the user's account. 

A spokesperson for the Justice Minister's office confirmed to The Brussels Times that the government is looking to clampdown on drug use with stronger penalties, in the context of Belgium's ongoing "war on drugs."

As the system is already in place for traffic fines, its application for drug offences can be achieved through various means. These include debiting the amount from one's bank account or salary, or rental income in the case of landlords, with the added possibility that bailiffs could be called in to seize the user's property.

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A recent report revealed that the past three years had seen cocaine use double in Antwerp, the same city in which an 11-year-old girl recently died after a shootout between rival drug traffickers.

As a result, the government believes that "drug use represents a huge cost to society," as previously stated by Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, "which we cannot accept."

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