Subliminal images

This morning, as I pedalled into work (yes, I’m still resolutely on the bike), preparations were under way for the European Council meeting. Doubtless for good security reasons, this involves closing off a busy roundabout and the erection of barbed wire barriers in a wide circumference around the Justus Lipsius building where the Heads of State or Government meet. Inevitably, traffic jams build up and various well-subscribed bus routes are re-jigged. My own route takes me across the Place Jean Rey. This is criss-crossed every morning by children on their way to the school in Parc Leopold. But when European Council meetings are on, the barbed wire barriers go up around the square and they, like everybody else, have to take a long detour. Throughout the day a police helicopter hovers overhead. Of course, high-level security is necessary, but I can’t help but wonder about the subliminal image we are inadvertently giving, particularly to the kids; defensive security, inconvenience, traffic jams, barbed wire, helicopters…


  1. Jon

    I agree! We need security, but the way the Belgian police do it is really over the top – it’s all about looking tough, and better to man a barbed wire fence than do something proper about community policing in the poorer communes of Brussels… But I suspect that most of the Heads of State and Government are oblivious to the choas they cause.

  2. magdalena

    Je partage cette opinion.L’image donnée aux citoyens lors de ces manoeuvres de “sécurité” est loin de l'”Europe sans barrière” 🙂

  3. Lukas

    Maybe we all got so used to it nobody looks for solutions anymore? Why not buy one of these nice little chateaux near Brussels, refurbish as a conference center for the council meetings and solve trafic jams in Brussels and the security issue in one go?

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