No blanket burkini ban

The Prime Minister, Charles Michel, is proposing giving wider powers to security guards and making it easier for the police to access material from private surveillance cameras. Mr Michel in this way hopes to provide greater security for the general public in the face of the terrorist threat. The prime minister was quizzed about several issues ahead of the resumption of political activity including the burkini or full body swimsuit.

The prime minister told the Sud Presse and Le Soir newspapers that the police should be given easier access to CCTV footage recorded in supermarkets, carparks and the like. In return private security guards too would be granted greater powers.

Charles Michel: "We will have to allow private security guards to search bags e.g. to look for hidden weapons e.g. at music festivals."

The prime minister hopes that such an initiative will free up time for police officers.

The traditional interviews with the premier ahead of the resumption of political activity after the holidays centre on security. The budget is hardly mentioned.

The Belgian leader was also quizzed about the burkini or full body swimsuit. He doesn't think that the matter can be adequately addressed by a specific law because of the difficulty of distinguishing a burkini from a diving suit or T-shirt, but Mr Michel is eager to give burgomasters sufficient powers to intervene when ostentatious religious symbols pose a threat to public order.