Belgian Courts Rules Conservative ‘NatCon’ Conference To Resume at Brussels Despite ‘Far Right’ Attendees

‘How can Brussels claim to be the heart of Europe if its officials only allow one side of the European conversation to be heard?’

AP/Virginia Mayo
Former MEP and Honorary President of the Reform UK party, Nigel Farage, speaks during the National Conservatism conference at Brussels. AP/Virginia Mayo

A Belgian high court ruling will get the National Conservatism Conference at Brussels up and running on Wednesday after police halted the event upon orders from the city’s mayor, Emir Kir, who voiced concerns about “the far right” views of some of its attendees.

The conference is being attended by right-wing figures including the member of parliament, Suella Braverman, the Hungarian leader, Viktor Orbán, the French politician, Eric Zemmour, and the news host, Nigel Farage. “Among these personalities there are several particularly from the right-conservative, religious right and European extreme right,” Mr. Kir said. “The far right is not welcome.”

Belgium’s supreme administrative court, the Conseil d’État, however, ruled against the mayor in an emergency session late Tuesday night. Overturning the conference’s shutdown, the court took the side of a conservative legal advocacy group, the Alliance Defending Freedom International, which argued that shuttering the conference was an obstruction of the free speech rights guaranteed in the Belgian constitution. 

“No official should have the power to shut down free and peaceful assembly merely because he disagrees with what is being said,” the executive director of ADF International, Paul Coleman, said in a statement. “How can Brussels claim to be the heart of Europe if its officials only allow one side of the European conversation to be heard?”

Belgium’s Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, also condemned the actions of the Brussels authorities in a post on X and defended the rights of the conference participants to freedom of speech and of assembly: “Banning political meetings is unconstitutional. Full stop.”

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