While his wife is busy reminding the Chinese how awful she’s had it living in such a mean country, the president is traveling to Belgium today with a scaled-back entourage of, er, 900 people, 45 vehicles and three cargo planes. The Belgians are just thrilled.
As Belgium’s capital and host to the EU and Nato, Brussels is used to deploying heavy security when big names pop by. But US PresidentBarack Obama‘s visit on Tuesday will strain the city like never before with €10m (£8.4m) of Belgian money being spent to cover his 24 hours in the country.
The president will arrive on Tuesday night with a 900-strong entourage, including 45 vehicles and three cargo planes. Advance security teams orchestrating every last detail have combed Brussels already, checking the sewers and the major hospitals, while American military helicopters were last week given the green light for overflights. The city hosts at least four EU summits a year, with each of these gatherings costing €500,000 in extra police, military and transport expenses. “But this time round, you can multiply that figure by 20,” said Brussels mayor, Yvan Mayeur.
They do realize even mentioning this means they’re racist, right?
The city’s four-stage security scale will be raised from two to three during the visit, Obama’s first to the country. A tight cordon will surround The Hotel, the 27-storey former Hilton in the Toison d’Or shopping district where the president will spend the night.
We just hope they have ESPN so he can stay up to speed on the important things.