Banning all daytrips to Belgian coast is ‘not desirable,’ says Interior Minister
Share article:
Share article:

Banning all daytrips to Belgian coast is ‘not desirable,’ says Interior Minister

Credit: Belga

Punishing all tourists wanting to travel to the coast for one day because of the actions of a few youths last weekend is “not desirable,” according to Belgian Minister for Security and Home Affairs Pieter De Crem.

Rather than banning day-trippers from the most popular resorts on the coast, as Knokke-Heist mayor Leopold Lippens decided to do, De Crem is in favour of imposing administrative or judicial bans to enter certain places on those identified as troublemakers.

“I will take steps to ensure that a ban can be imposed for the entire coast,” he told the parliament on Tuesday, “and if necessary also for recreational areas.”

De Crem hopes to be able to “quickly” put his idea into practice through a “legislative initiative,” he told Belga.

A ban should be imposed on those convicted, as well as on those who have received an administrative fine for failing to comply with the rules. The ban would apply temporarily during specific periods, such as heatwave weekends or the tourist season.

The measure could be checked in the commune where the banned people live, for example by means of a permit to report to the authorities.

“We cannot punish the many people who have the right to travel to the coast for the actions of twenty or more troublemakers,” he said, adding that this is one of the reasons why he opposed the possible closure of the stations during the weekend.

Related News:

 

Additionally, he stressed that “at no time” was there a report of a lack of police personnel in Blankenberge last weekend, when the fight started, listing the federal reinforcements that were available and have also intervened Saturday to evacuate the beach and arrest suspects.

These various reinforcements intervened on Saturday, he pointed out, rejecting the idea suggested by some MPs that the mayors of the coastal municipalities would have been “abandoned” by the federal government.

“In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the local authorities asked for more autonomy, which they received at the end of the National Security Council of 23 July,” De Crem stressed.

The idea was that the local authorities could propose specific measures, adapted to the local reality, to effectively fight against the spread of the virus. On the coast, popular resorts have made use of it to create a beach reservation system.

However, in the local management of Saturday’s events, there were several missed opportunities, according to De Crem.

In Blankenberge specifically, the beach “is very narrow, there is little room outside private concessions at high tide. It is the task of the local authorities to manage this space, to make sure that there are not too many people depending on the tides.”

“According to my information, the first signals of problems with youths arrived at around 2:00 PM, and there was no intervention until several hours later,” he added.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Intervention hotline 1722 activated following bad weather warnings
Following bad weather warnings from Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI), the Federal Public Service (FPS) Home Affairs has ...
Thousands march in Brussels to raise awareness of violence against women
More than 3,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday afternoon for a national march to raise awareness of violence against women in ...
Efficacy of vaccines against new variant known in a few weeks, virologist says
The efficacy of the current coronavirus vaccines against the new Omicron variant will be clear in one to two weeks, Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst ...
Scientists could have communicated better during pandemic, survey shows
The majority of Flemish people continue to trust scientists, however, only half of them feel scientists communicated understandably during the ...
Closing borders and new travel restrictions: Countries react to Omicron variant
As more cases of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus are being reported across the world, more and more countries are imposing tougher travel ...
Several rush hour train services to be scrapped from Monday
Up to ten peak time trains to and from Brussels will be temporarily cancelled starting from Monday, Belgian railway company SNCB announced this ...
Europe’s largest vintage clothes store is in Ghent this weekend
Europe's largest pop-up store for second-hand clothes is once again setting up shop in Ghent on Sunday, offering more than five tonnes of vintage ...
Animal welfare in EU’s pig meat sector: What’s wrong?
EU has put into place legislation to ensure that animal welfare conditions are respected in its agricultural policy but the breaches of its ...
‘Not feasible’: Doctors refuse to follow new testing strategy
Doctors have warned they will not follow the government's adapted testing strategy which would see vaccinated people who were in close contact with a ...
Flanders introduces ‘invisible’ speed cameras
New digital speed cameras that are essentially invisible to the road user are being introduced on various roads and motorways in Flanders, Flemish ...
Warnings issued for slippery roads across Belgium
Drivers have been asked to watch out for slippery roads from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, as snow and cold temperatures are expected ...
Testing rules following high-risk contact eased for vaccinated people
The coronavirus testing policy following a high-risk contact has been eased, meaning a vaccinated person who was in contact with an infected person ...