"2nd- and 3rd-generation passport punishment"

Deputy PM Didier Reynders (Francophone liberal) has confirmed that the federal government is considering the removal of Belgian nationality to punish those convicted of terrorism, even in the case of second- or third-generation Belgian citizens. Some are warning that this could be discriminating.

The Verviers house raids in which police managed to prevent a terrorist attack on police officers on duty, triggered a number of proposals within the government to punish those convicted of terrorist actions in court, or to tackle radicalisation. One of these was to take away Belgian nationality from those with a double passport, but Didier Reynders wants to go one step further. "We want to extend this measure", the minister admits.

Those found guilty of terrorist acts in court could lose their Belgian nationality in the future, also when they became Belgians by birth, after their parents or grandparents immigrated and successfully applied for a Belgian passport.

This was confirmed by Didier Reynders in an interview with the Francophone public broadcaster RTBF. "It is our intention to tackle the second and third generations as well, because this is where the main problem lies."


Critics say that it may be possible to take away Belgian nationality from those with a double passport, but that this would become discriminating for those that are Belgians by birth.

"This goes very far, because we are talking about people that were born here and that lived here. It is also a little bit our responsibility", says Stefaan Van Hecke of the Flemish greens (Groen).

However, there is also discontentment within the coalition parties. Justice Minister Koen Geens (Flemish Christian democrat) admitted that "the proposal could be discriminating for second- and third-generation Belgian citizens."