Brussels conference where Orbán due to speak today allowed to resume following yesterday's ban

April 17. 2024. – 09:55 AM



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“NatCon Brussels 2 will be free to meet today for its second day of programming without further interference from state authorities, the Conseil d’État, the highest court in Belgium relating to issues of public administration, has ruled” – the National Conservatism Conference (NATCON) has announced on X (formerly Twitter). On the first day, Tuesday, the local mayor issued a ban and police officers moved in to shut the conference down.

The event was eventually allowed to continue, but no one was allowed in, and those who left were not allowed to return. According to the post, the decision to allow the event to continue was taken by Belgium's highest civil court. They thanked the Christian-conservative rights organisation ADF for its help, which issued a statement saying the court had reached its decision on Monday night.

"Victory! NatCon will continue tomorrow," Balázs Orbán, the Hungarian Prime Minister's Political Director and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at MCC, posted on Facebook on Tuesday night. MCC's Brussels office is one of the co-organisers of the event, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is scheduled to speak on Wednesday morning. The event "won the legal battle after the court annulled the injunction to stop the conference", Fidesz MEP Kinga Gál, who also spoke on the first day of the event, said in her post.

Other than Hungarian government politicians, several European politicians have also criticized the local mayor's decision about the assembly. One of them was Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who called the decision of the local mayor unacceptable, saying that while municipal autonomy was a foundation of democracy, it must never override the Belgian constitution, which has guaranteed freedom of speech and peaceful assembly since 1830. "Banning political assemblies is unconstitutional," he wrote.

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