Conservative conference organizers find last-minute host after two venues pull plug amid pressure from left-wing activists and politicians

By Thomas Brooke
5 Min Read

Some of the most high-profile conservative politicians in Europe are descending on Brussels tomorrow for a two-day conference that almost didn’t take place after reports of political interference and multiple venues being pressured to deplatform the event.

The National Conservatism conference has been planned for months and is set to include keynote speakers including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and British conservative broadcaster Nigel Farage, in addition to many other prominent conservative politicians.

Former U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman, former Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, President of France’s Reconquête party Éric Zemmour, and dozens of MEPs and conservative commentators are expected to speak at the event.

The only issue is that as of Monday evening, no venue had been confirmed.

On Friday, the owners of the Concert Noble ballroom in the Belgian capital succumbed to growing pressure from Belgian antifascist groups, reportedly in cahoots with Socialist Party mayor, Philippe Close, to pull out of hosting the conference.

“The reputation of Brussels as the home of European democracy is at stake when last-minute attempts are made to suppress the speech of fifty of the most prominent public figures in Europe, for no reason other than their conservative political views. Europe must not descend into rule by thugs and ideologues,” said conference chairman Yoram Hazony at the time, before announcing on X that NatCon “is going forward despite the mayor’s attempt to cancel the event.”

However, late on Monday, contingency plans to hold the event at the Sofitel Hotel in the heart of the city’s European quarter were dealt a blow after police descended on the establishment and told organizers to leave, explaining that orders had been given to pull the plug on the emergency venue.

“I was warned by the press about the nature of the event and the people who were coming,” local mayor Vincent de Wolf told The Brussels Times on Monday. “I informed the local police authorities, who contacted Sofitel and the management decided to cancel the event,” he added.

“They weren’t happy, they didn’t want to leave. The police arrived to explain that the Sofitel wasn’t the one to cancel and that this was the right thing to do. They then left peacefully,” de Wolf said.

Dutch media reported late on Monday that an email had been sent by organizers at 10:30 p.m. confirming a third location had been found, the Claridge Hall in downtown Brussels.

This was finally confirmed by conference chairman Yoram Hazony at 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning on X, who insisted the event would go ahead “despite frantic and continuing efforts by Brussels officials to cancel it at the last minute.

Hazony claimed the Claridge had also been “contacted by city officials” and accused local politicians of doing “anything to protect the political establishment that guarantees the gravy train.”

“With less than two months to the heavily contested European Parliamentary elections, the last thing they want is fifty of the most prominent national conservatives in Europe making the case against the leftist-controlled EU,” he added.

Members of Belgian right-wing group Vlaams Belang appeared pessimistic earlier in the evening, with its European Parliament leader Tom Vandendriessche claiming that “intimidation and street violence” had “overtaken fundamental rights under the rule of law.”

“They often use so-called European values, democracy, and the rule of law to point the finger at countries such as Hungary. Can it get any more hypocritical? Can Brussels still call itself the capital of Europe? If fascism ever returns, it will call itself anti-fascism,” he added.

Others, however, remained stoic, including Dutch MEP Rob Roos who wrote on X late on Monday: “The cancel culture in Brussels will not win! We will not allow ourselves to be silenced. Not by the far left, not by anyone. Never. Free speech is not just a right. It is an obligation, a necessity for a healthy democracy.”

Self-described “antifascist” groups vowed to “remain mobilized” in bringing the conference down, setting up a potentially toxic atmosphere and civil unrest should the conference proceed as planned on Tuesday.

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