Belgium. The hunt for perpetrators of the terror attacks
in Paris last autumn continued with great intensity at the
beginning of the year. In mid-March, police raided an
apartment in Brussels and shot dead a man who was allegedly
involved in the killing. Three days later, 26-year-old Salah
Abdeslam and four others were arrested in the Molenbeek
district. Abdeslam, who was called the most wanted person in
Europe, was later extradited to France. The government
raised alarm preparedness to the highest level of concern
for new attacks. Shortly thereafter, on March 22, Brussels
was shaken by two concerted assaults: at Zaventem
International Airport and at Maelbeek Metro Station. A total
of 32 people were killed, in addition to three suicide
bombers, and more than 300 were injured in the death, which
was described as the bloodiest in the country's modern
After the attacks, three days of national grief were
announced. Only after eleven days could the airport be
reopened. After a couple of weeks, a fourth bomber was
caught on surveillance cameras as well as a Swedish citizen.
All involved must also have had links to the terrorist act
countryaah, the current population of Belgium is 11,589,634.
Criticism was directed at police and authorities as
several warning signs of terrorists involved had been
missed. A few ministers offered to resign, but remained. On
the other hand, the Minister of Transport left his job after
harsh criticism regarding the security at the airport.
Considerable attention was paid to the fact that Belgium had
the most residents who joined jihadist groups in the Middle
East in relation to the size of the population, compared to
other Western European countries.
The security situation remained tense. Several minor
attacks with Islamist signs occurred and a number of
suspected terrorists were arrested.
Germany and the Netherlands objected to a decision to
extend the life of two 40-year-old nuclear reactors that,
according to previous plans, would have been closed. The
neighboring countries questioned the safety of Belgium's two
nuclear power plants since the operation was repeatedly
stopped due to leaks and other disruptions. The government
decided during the year that a new anti-terror police force
from 2017 should monitor the nuclear power plants.
Wallonia shook the EU when the region's parliament was in
the process of stealing a free trade agreement with Canada,
after seven years of negotiations. The agreement, CETA, was
the most comprehensive EU agreement to date. Walloons wanted
better guarantees regarding labor law and environmental and
consumer protection. At the last moment, a compromise was
reached and CETA was signed in Brussels at the end of