Cor, I thought. This is what it must be like to be in one of those films. You nod off for 10 minutes and you wake up in 200 years' time. We had just pitched up at the Gare du Midi in Brussels and the transformation was incredible. It was 20 years ago that this paper despatched me to the Belgian capital to be its Common Market Correspondent, and in those days the Gare du Midi was a wonderfully dingy place with feral cats and trod-on chips and Turkish taxi drivers snoozing in their battered Mercs and trains departing slowly for First World War destinations like Poperinge.

Now the future had arrived. A vast space-age Eurostar terminal loured over the ancient quartier, and as we headed into the heart of Euroville I couldn't believe my eyes. Poor old Brussels took a terrible pasting in the Fifties, when ruthless British developers moved in and razed so many lovely *maisons de ma**î*tre, whacking up anonymous office blocks in their place. That was nothing to the destruction now taking place in the name of Europe. As you get to the sites of the burgeoning European institutions, it is as though gigantic alien motherships of glass and steel have crash-landed on the city, dwarfing the cobbled streets and crushing out the patisseries and the gloomy little bars I used to love. Read full article...