Belgium and Luxemburg
The Crime Terror Nexus was delighted to launch its paper on The Crime Terror Nexus in Belgium and Luxemburg at EGMONT – The Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels. This paper presents an overview of links between crime and terrorism (the crime-terror nexus) in Belgium and Luxemburg, highlights potential risks, and makes a series of recommendations for how such risks can be mitigated.
Though illicit activities are notoriously difficult to measure, the presence of links between crime and terrorism can be seen in two areas: 1. Among Belgian jihadists, who have leveraged their criminal skills and connections for the purposes of terrorism, and actively encouraged crime for the sake of jihad; 2. In Belgian prisons, where there is a cohort of radicalised individuals that are scheduled for release over the coming years. Our recommendations include action on prisons, terrorist financing, information sharing, and collaboration between security agencies as well as between government and non-government actors. However, the wider problem seems to be social in nature – that is, the existence of geographical areas and demographic pools of people which are cut off from mainstream society and, therefore, become easy prey for both criminal gangs and jihadist recruiters. In addition to technical and administrative measures, therefore, we recommend that there should be a wider, social and political effort to re-engage with the “forgotten parts” of Belgian society.
This paper is part of a Europe-wide survey that will produce similar reports for all European Union member states. The aim is to generate a more holistic understanding of threats from crime and terrorism, and promote new and innovative ways of tackling them.