BRUSSELS (Web Desk) – Belgian transport minister Jacqueline Galant has resigned over accusations she ignored lapses in security at Brussels airport, becoming the first member of the government to fall in the wake of last month’s terror attacks.
Opposition parties had been demanding the minister to step down. They had leaked a confidential EU document, dating from 2015, which criticised security measures at Belgium’s airports, the BBC reported.
The attacks on Zavantem airport and a Brussels metro station by so-called Islamic State had left 32 people dead on March 22. More than 300 were injured.
Prime Minister Charles Michel had previously defended Ms Galant, and he had told parliament that her office had not seen the critical EU report.
However on Friday morning, following the publication of further documents on Thursday evening, Mr Michel said that “contrary to what was communicated to me” the report had been discussed, according to public broadcaster RTBF.
A spokesman for Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel confirmed that he had accepted the resignation of Jacqueline Galant, a member of his own centrist party.
Pressure on Ms. Galant had grown in recent days after leaked European Commission reports showed that the European Union executive had repeatedly warned that the country’s civil aviation authority wasn’t conducting sufficient checks at Belgian airports.
The report said the oversight of security measures at Belgium’s airports was flawed and cited serious deficiencies in the way safety checks were managed.
Two other members of the government, Interior Minister Jan Jambon and Justice Minister Koen Geens, had offered to resign in the days after the attacks. But their offers were rejected by Mr. Michel.