Zero tolerance, maximum controversy

Published on 2 February 2010 at 13:37
De Morgen, 2 February 2010


In the wake of an upsurge of violence in the Brussels region, the prosecutor’s office has announced there will be zero tolerance for “lawless areas” and a new system to expedite faster court hearings. Reporting on the “Return to zero tolerance… ” and what it terms “Controversial security measures in Brussels,” Belgium’s francophone press takes the view that any spike in the crime rate “is a gift” for the extremist parties that have been trying to aggravate tensions between the country’s Flemish and French speaking communities. “Flemish speaking political parties and commentators’ propensity to label Brussels a cut-throat town are invariably based on the supposition that the capital and its hinterland constitute a kind of giant “sink estate” devoid of “goed bestuur” (good governance), because they are managed by francophones. Worse still, this hostile attitude promotes a negative caricature of Brussels (…) which is a city where living conditions are excellent” reports Le Soir. For Flemish daily De Morgen, “the absence of efficient policy making, which is the preserve of eleven different local government bodies, 19 town halls and six police districts is at the root of the problem.”

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