Donald Trump arrives in Belgium: what's on the agenda?

The American President Donald Trump is landing in Brussels around 4 o'clock this afternoon. He has a busy agenda in Brussels both tonight and tomorrow, before leaving for Sicily around 9 tomorrow evening, to attend a G7 summit. Trump will be meeting the Belgian PM Charles Michel and King Filip, and will join a NATO meeting, but there is a lot more on his agenda.

Donald Trump and First Lady Melania's Air Force One will touch down in Zaventem at Brussels Airport, but are expected to leave the aircraft at Melsbroek's military airport. During the transfer from the airport to the Royal Castle in the centre of Brussels, the Inner Ring Road and the E40 Motorway will be closed

In the Royal Palace, Trump will have a meeting with King Filip of the Belgians of about 15 minutes before talking to PM Charles Michel (45 minutes scheduled, 'see read also'). At the palace, there will also be a photo moment. Queen Mathilde will take on the role as host and guide for Melania and inform her about Child Focus, the centre for missing children, while Trump is engaging in conversation with Michel.

Around 5PM, a demonstration against Trump and NATO will start at the North Station. Organisers are hoping to welcome over 10,000 protesters, such as climate, women's rights and world peace campaigners.

Note that this is not an official state visit to Belgium, but rather a NATO visit in the first place. This means no special reception ceremony.

Hotel or embassy?

It remains a secret where Trump will spend the night. Barack Obama used to stay in The Hotel in the centre, but Trump is expected to sleep at another, secret location. This could be the residence at the American embassy, though this has not been confirmed. Melania is poised to stay in The Hotel, together with the rest of the American team.

Michel and Macron

Thursday will be the busiest day.

  • The morning sees a works meeting with Charles Michel and the French President Emmanuel Macron.
  • Next comes a trip to the European quarters where Trump will Jean-Claude Juncker and Antonio Tajani, Donald Tusk and Federica Mogherini (the presidents of the European Commission, European Parliament, the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs respectively).
  • Trump and Macron are next expected to have a private meeting at the American embassy during a working lunch.
  • The NATO gathering should start at 3 o'clock in Brussels, where the newly-built NATO premises will be inaugurated. Though it is not an official NATO summit, the 29 heads of state and government are expected to discuss the future of the military partnership and each country's financial contribution. Trump said various times in the past that smaller NATO allies (like Belgium) will have to contribute more.
  • A working dinner will start around 6, after a couple of ceremonies. Fighter jets will paint the Belgian colours in the sky, and the Belgians will officially hand over the keys of the NATO building in a symbolic act.
  • Trump and his team are leaving again after some 29 hours on Belgian soil, around 9, to fly to Sicily for a G7 summit.