Conference of European right-wing conservatives in Brussels cancelled

A meeting of right-wing conservative leaders from several European countries, due to take place in the Brussels municipality of Etterbeek, has been cancelled. Previously, the organisers of the National Conservative Conference (NatCon) had to look for another location after their original venue withdrew ​ its permission because of pressure from anti-fascist organisations.

The NatCon event was scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday with many high-profile figures from the European conservative right.

The five keynote speakers were Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, former British minister Suella Braverman, former British MEP Nigel Farage, former Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki and French writer and politician Éric Zemmour. MEP Tom Vandendriessche of the Flemish party Vlaams Belang would also have taken the floor.

"A gathering of that size is not without consequences in case of disturbances"

NatCon was due to take place at the Concert Noble venue in Brussels. After pressure from anti-fascist and other organisations, venue owner Edificio decided not to allow the conference there. Brussels mayor Philippe Close had previously recommended cancellation, or at least the provision of a sufficiently large security force "that can ensure that the event can take place without incidents".

The conference, an initiative of the Edmund Burke Foundation, was subsequently moved to the Hotel Sofitel Brussels Europa in Etterbeek. But the event cannot go ahead at that location either, Etterbeek mayor Vincent De Wolf said.

"The hotel, which signed the contract on Friday, has examined the nature of the event and who the invitees are," he said. "A gathering of that size is not without consequences in case of disturbances." As a result, the meeting was cancelled a second time.

The organisers had already arrived at the hotel when they learned that the event could not go ahead. Those involved refused to leave the Sofitel hotel, prompting a police unit to attend.

A spokesperson for the Belgian Antifascist Coordination, which protested against the event, said it was satisfied with the cancellation but remains on its guard for a possible third venue. "Hosting such far-right events exactly helps this ideology move forward," they said.


Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban gives a press conference ​ © PHOTO BORISLAV ZDRINJA / BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA PRESIDENCY / AFP

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