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Belgian report Belgian report
by Euro Reporter
2015-07-07 13:28:54
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Belgium’s exit from anti-ISIL coalition’s bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq

Belgian media announced that their country’s contribution to the anti-ISIL coalition mission has been suspended. Commenting on the announcement, a senior Syrian official told Sputnik that that Brussels’ move comes as no surprise, given the growing divide between the coalition’s stated military aims and its actual activities. Friday’s announcement came after Belgium’s six F-16 fighter bombers had already returned from their base in Jordan, where they had spent the last nine months participating in the US-led bombing campaign against ISIL in Iraq. Brussels has declared that it could no longer afford to continue funding the air operation.

belgium_400Asked for comment by Sputnik, Syrian Information Minister assistant Ali al-Ahmed stated that Brussels’ announcement comes as no surprise, given repeated reports of Europeans’ growing doubts “about the effectiveness of the coalition and its operations.” Noting that the Belgian government has been plagued by high rates of disapproval of “this enormous and ineffective spending,” al-Ahmed told Sputnik that “Belgium has now come to personify European countries’ dissatisfaction over the coalition’s actions.”

The Syrian civil servant lamented that “from the very beginning, this coalition has not been serious in its approach to fighting the terrorists. We have noticed that the coalition only strikes at those ISIL and al-Nusra objects which threaten Western interests. The coalition’s military aviation is fighting terrorism not out of the need to fight evil, but based on the narrow self-interest of the parties involved.” According to al-Ahmed, “this explains why air strikes regularly miss ISIL targets and facilities,” or strike “military targets of the forces of the people’s militia leading the real fight against ISIL.” The advisor notes that “even civilians who assist the army and the militia have repeatedly been subjected to coalition airstrikes.” Al-Ahmed criticized Western nations’ use of limited financial resources for expensive airstrikes, noting that these funds could have been much more effectively spent by providing assistance to the countries directly involved in the fight against ISIL terror, including Iraq and Syria. Ultimately, Al-Ahmed, whose country has been involved in a battle against radical Islamic groups for over four years now, pessimistically noted that “the main goal of this coalition is to preserve the balance of forces on the ground, so that no one can win, with the shedding of blood continuing for a long time, until the US is able to implement its interests in the region.”

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Belgium drops the price of 62 off-patent drugs across several therapy areas

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Euro coin row: France wins the battle, Belgium wins the war

Name: The €2.50 coin.

Age: One week old, but 200 years in the making.

Appearance: Possibly the funniest thing that Belgium has ever done.

Is Belgium a particularly funny country? Oh, the funniest. The closest thing it has to a national emblem is a statue of a little boy having a wee. Belgium is the greatest.

And this coin is somehow funnier than a weeing boy? What’s on it, a pooing monkey? Better than that: a lion on a plinth.

Ha ha… ha? It’s to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, stupid.

I’m still not entirely sure where the humour lies in this. So, three months ago, Belgium proposed the introduction of a commemorative Waterloo €2 coin. But, because it represented the country’s most humiliating military defeat, France vetoed it.

But this isn’t about a €2 coin. Exactly. Instead of giving up, Belgium went away and found an obscure law stating that any country in the eurozone could issue any new coins it wanted, providing they’re in an irregular denomination. So it invented a €2.5 coin, and minted 70,000 of those to commemorate Waterloo instead.

So all this is just a hopelessly convoluted way for Belgium to stick it to France? Exactly. It’s like Scotland printing up a £7.50 note plastered with the crying faces of all its ousted Labour MPs.

That is actually kind of brilliant, isn’t it? All of Belgium is great. It went 18 months without a government once, plus it invented roller skates, pralines and saxophones. Belgium is the country all other countries aspire to be.

How has France taken this? To be fair, incredibly sanguinely. However, this year is also the 500th anniversary of the French victory at Marignano, and Italy recently was among the nations which similarly vetoed plans for a commemorative €2 coin.

Are you suggesting that France will copy Belgium and make a €2.50 coin specifically to annoy Italy? It’s not definite but, by God, I hope so.

This is fun, eh? It is. And it will be, right up until someone makes a €2.50 Bayeux tapestry coin.

Do say: “I knew money would tear Europe apart, but not like this.”

Don’t say: “Still, at least that’s Europe’s biggest problem solved.”

 


         
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