Share article:
Share article:

Belgium: Europe’s drug market hub, says report

Belgium is playing an enlarged role in a fast-growing European drug market, an EU report showed. Credit: © Belga

Belgium has overtaken Spain as the hub of the fast-growing European drug market, as the availability of narcotics in the Continent reaches an “all-time high,” according to a European Union (EU) report.

The report shows that Belgium is playing an enlarged role in both the distribution and production markets of cocaine, methamphetamines and other illicit drugs, such as ketamine and GBL.

The report was published by the EU’s drug agency, and it examines data from 2017.

That year, 45 tons of cocaine were seized in the port of Antwerp, placing Belgium just ahead of Spain, where 41 tons of the drug were seized in 2017.

The high number of cocaine entering through the Belgian port —Europe’s second-largest, behind Rotterdam’s— indicates that Belgium is at the heart of a “reorganisation of the cocaine supply chain” in the continent.

“A large portion of the drugs found in Antwerp had a different final destination,” Alex Goosdeel, director of the EU agency, told De Morgen.

The report also shows that Belgium, together with the Netherlands, is one of the main production centres for MDMA, echoing a previous study which found that Belgium was the country where the psychoactive pills were the cheapest.

While no active laboratories were found in Belgium in 2017, the report says that a 2018 wastewater study suggests that the high concentration of chemical residue from MDMA production found in the country’s sewage water signals that “the drug continues to be produced” in the country.

A sharp increase in the amount of ketamine, GBL and LSD seizures was also registered in Belgium, as it accounted for almost half of the total GBL seized in the whole of the EU.

As a whole, the European drug market is undergoing an “Uberisation” phenomenon, as innovative distribution strategies paired with strategic smartphone and social media use have facilitated the development of fast drug delivery services across Europe.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
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 ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...