The Cost Of Terror In Brussels

Brussels 5Brussels, the heart of Belgium’s capital in the night

Article originally published in Global Risks Insight: Know Your World

Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union, is experiencing some immediate economic effects resulting from recent terror threats in 2015. This city’s experience may prove to be a blueprint for other cities in 2016.

Following the deadly terrorist attacks that shocked France and the world on November 13th 2015, the global attention turned to Brussels as the majority of the Islamist militants that took part in the French massacre had links to the European capital. In addition, in late November Belgian authorities temporarily raised the terrorist threat level to its highest tier given the presence of a reportedly imminent terrorist threat.

This led to substantial disruptions in the capital in what came to be defined as “Brussels Lockdown”. The terrorist threat again came as an obstacle to the normal life of Brussels’ residents when authorities banned all public New Year’s Eve festivities on December 31st because of a reported plan to carry out an attack in the capital.

This prolonged state of insecurity has had a negative impact on the economic and social life of the capital. Since November 2015, Brussels, along with other European capitals, has been experiencing first-hand the cost of terror. The most overt statistics pertaining to touristic activities, social outings, and public gatherings show a general change in the perception of the city and an overall evolution in the local mood.

Throughout the duration of the “Brussels Lockdown”, thousands of travellers planning to reach the capital cancelled their flights. At the highest point of this trend, more than 2,000 flight cancellations were recorded on November 25th. While this push to avoid Brussels slowly stopped after the terrorist threat level was lowered, there were in average 6,000 flights per day to Brussels in early December 2015, approximately 1,500 less than in the same period of 2014.

A similar trend has been verified for the overall occupation rate of hotels in the capital. In early December, approximately 55% of Brussels’ hotel rooms were occupied against more than 73% during the same period of 2014.

Ubiquitous precautions

This situation had a direct impact on the economic and social life of the European capital throughout the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. The annual Christmas market organised and held in the historical centre of Brussels has experienced a drop in attendance of more than 30%. In addition, New Year’s Eve saw a major drop in demand for restaurant bookings and, as such, at least one out of every two restaurants in the capital closed their doors on the last night of 2015.

The aforementioned statistics are only an initial effect of the impact that the emergence of a new terror threat is having on western European economies. The Belgian example is noteworthy as local security and intelligence agencies have so far been successful in countering the threat posed by Islamist militants, and no major mass-casualty attack has occurred in the country.

However, the enhanced presence of military personnel in the streets of Brussels as well as the ongoing discourse over the current will of terrorist organisations to target the capital led to a mood change among the local population. The fear of potential attacks is playing as a long-term obstacle to private expenditures, tourism and the participation in major public social events.

As such, beyond the immediate security concerns raised by the risk of terrorist attacks, public officials face the need to adapt the ongoing counter-terrorist strategy in order not to hinder the socio-economic life of western European countries.

http://globalriskinsights.com/2016/01/the-cost-of-terror-in-brussels/

Bloodbath In Paris As Terrorists Strike The City

 

Paris

People gather outside the Le Carillon bar. It’s one of the venues targeted during the terrorist attacks.  Photo: Steve Parsons/PA

“The current crisis in Syria, has brought many refugees, including terrorists to the shores of Europe unnoticed.” – Joel Savage

Gatwick Terminal’s North Terminal shut down after reports of ‘suspect package’ at airport. France also in lockdown after a series of coordinated terror attacks across Paris on Friday. Follow latest updates

Jeremy Corbyn condemns “horrific and immoral” attack

Christopher Hope writes:

Jeremy Corbyn, newly sworn as a privy counsellor which allows him to be briefed on state secrets, will get a Downing Street security briefing today in the wake of the French terror attacks in Paris today.

Here is his statement:

“Today, all our thoughts and sympathy are with the people of Paris.

“What took place in the French capital yesterday was horrific and immoral.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of France – as with all victims of terror and violence.

“I have cancelled my engagements today to hold discussions on events in France with shadow cabinet colleagues and be briefed by Downing Street security officials.

“It’s vital at a time of such tragedy and outrage not to be drawn into responses which feed a cycle of violence and hatred.

“We are proud to live in a multicultural and multi-faith society, and we stand for the unity of all communities.”

Gatwick’s North Terminal has flights suspended

Lyndsey Telford is at Gatwick Airport where she reports that North Terminal is still evacuated.

Flights departing from the North Terminal, where a man was arrested after a suspicious item was found, have been suspended. Entrance to the terminal is cordoned off with a small police presence.

Hundreds of confused and frustrated passengers have formed a winding queue unsure of whether their flights will depart at all. Passengers arriving on flights into the airport have described scenes of “chaos” and “mayhem”.

Alex Pollock arrived this morning on a flight from Bordeaux into the North Terminal. He said: “As soon as we got off the plane, we were met by Border Force security guys who told us the area had been evacuated and we had to get as far away from the North Terminal as possible”.

He said staff at Gatwick seemed to have “no idea” about the security alert. “It’s been absolutely chaotic, which has made the whole experience all the more unnerving.”

Separately, passengers trying to leave Gatwick have been told public transport was in “lockdown”, but it is understood trains are in fact arriving and departing from the airport.

Suicide bomber identified by his fingerprints

BFMTV, a French TV channel, reports that police have identified one of the suicide bomber via his fingerprints, but he has not yet been named.

He was a French man, known to security services.

Continue reading: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995541/Paris-shootings-terrorist-attack-french-victims-latest-news.html