The south’s MEPs have spoken of their shock and determination to stand strong following the terrorist attacks in Brussels which have claimed dozens of lives this morning.
Two attacks, first in the airport and then in a Metro station have killed at least 28 people so far and injured scores more.
Flags across the region, including Portsmouth’s Guildhall, are flying at half mast.
South East MEP Ray Finch, of Ukip, works five minutes away from the Maelbeek metro station where the second blast happened this morning.
He described the scene of panic following the blasts and said he believes there is an ‘undeclared war’ in Europe and Belgium has become ‘terrorist central’.
‘I was in the office at 7am, by the time it happened I was already working’, said Mr Finch.
‘We are more or less confined to barracks. The explosion in the tube station was only five minutes away.
‘We don’t have any mobile connection because everyone is calling to make sure everyone is okay.
‘People are running around trying to check on friends, colleagues and staff.
‘I was in a fisheries committee meeting today and I’m going back there in a minute. We made a decision that we’re going to carry on working, even though I don’t believe in the EU, otherwise it means the barbarians win.
‘The onus is on everyone to carry on as best you can.’
Mr Finch described Brussels as ‘terrorist central for western Europe’ and said, following the arrest of Paris terror attacks mastermind Salah Abdeslam, retaliation attacks were expected.
He said he had no choice but to be stoic and added: ‘In the UK we had this for many years with The Troubles. If you give in, they win. If you stop doing what you’re meant to be doing and hold your hands up then they win.
‘It appears to be the resolution of just about everybody in here.
‘We’re not going to give in to these people. We have what is essentially an undeclared war in Europe.’
Liberal Democrat Catherine Bearder is also a South East MEP.
She said: ‘My team and I are safe but feeling shaken after the horrific events in Brussels this morning.
‘My heart goes out to all the victims of these cowardly attacks and their loved ones, as well all those who rushed to help them.
‘In these difficult times, the UK must stand in solidarity with Belgium and offer any assistance we can.’