The attacks of 22 March 2016

A year later, is our security and that of our children sufficiently taken into account?
The 22 March will mark a sad anniversary, that of the attacks at Zaventem and in the Maelbeek metro station, which caused so much physical and psychological damage. Some of our colleagues were among the victims of those barbaric acts. We wish to reconfirm our sympathy for, and solidarity with, all the victims and their families.
22 March will be a reminder, as if we needed one, that the world is continuing to change, that the ongoing conflicts are intersecting and intermingling, that nowhere is safe any longer, that we must learn to live with a higher level of vigilance, and that even that may not suffice to spare us similar misdeeds, but will help us to limit their number and their impact.
The Belgian authorities came in for much criticism last year. What had they done, or should they have done, to analyse, predict and prevent the threat? Were they taken by surprise or had they put in place all the measures necessary to avoid attacks of that nature?
The same questions were levelled at the European institutions, and therefore at the Commission, and they have taken a certain number of measures to increase the security level and requirements. Those heightened security measures are noticeable, often indirectly, but the nature and coherence of the overall security policy remain unclear.
Are the measures taken sufficient and relevant? What concrete measures has the Commission already taken and which are still under preparation or in the process of being adopted? Do they concern all places of employment or are they variable, depending on the local risk level? Are they part of an overall plan? Where are we today? How are we adapting to changes in the threat posed?
Our trade union, the FEDERATION, is very sensitive to these questions. We are working with our partners, and with the Staff Committee, to obtain regular information from our administration on security issues and on the Commission's response to them. Indeed, the need for more information is an issue that our members have frequently raised with us. Immobility on these issues would be indefensible.
That is why we must have the guarantee that the security level for our children and the staff of the crèches, after-school care centres and European schools is commensurate with the risks.
The question also applies to private crèches, chosen by the Commission as a way to save money. Are their security arrangements adequate?
Are their staff subjected to the same precautionary measures? 
It is clear that Commission staff has a right to know how their security and that of their buildings is guaranteed. They should not need continually to put the question to the administration, whose duty it is to provide appropriate information, without of course giving in to alarmism or giving rise to unfounded fears.
That is why the FEDERATION is calling on the administration to communicate proactively with staff, giving us concrete and regular information. Since the threats we fact are changing, and their nature and intensity is variable, security measures therefore need to be able to be adapted quickly, concretely and, most of all, effectively.
You’ll never walk alone!