Brussels "spy" scene: Belgium investigates whether foreign powers fund politicians
The Belgian "Committee I", an independent review body that oversees the intelligence services, has been investigating since December last year whether Belgium has received interference from foreign powers in funding parties, institutions or politicians. Russia is not the only power under investigation, as the European Parliament corruption scandal involving Qatar and Morocco has demonstrated.
Last Thursday, the Belgian National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, devoted part of its meeting to the situation in Ukraine and received an update from the security and defense services on the hybrid war that Russia is waging against Western countries. The report paid particular attention to acts of sabotage and destabilization activities.
“We are facing extremist groups that are sometimes very supportive of the Russian agenda and that try to destabilize our way of life. We must be very attentive in this regard”, said De Croo at a press conference.
An American report from last year submitted to the Belgian Parliament states that Russia has long targeted Belgian political circles, as well as public opinion and certain media outlets.
The intelligence services also monitors Russian interference in European and NATO political circles. In this regard, the report notes that Brussels, as a diplomatic capital, constitutes an "ideal" classical spy scene.
In total, Belgian State Security has written 554 investigative reports on Russian interference since 2014, sent 422 messages to international partners on the matter, received 5,070 messages from them, and sent 81 messages to Federal authorities.
#FlandersNewsService | Prime Minister Alexander De Croo arrives for a meeting of the National Security Council on 27 March 2020 in Brussels © BELGA PHOTO (OLIVIER HOSLET)