MS Risk Blog

France to Seek State of Emergency Extension to Cover Euro 2016 Football Tournament

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French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has disclosed that the French government plans to extend a state of emergency, which was initially imposed in the wake of the 13 November 2015 attack in Paris, to cover the Euro 2016 football tournament, which the country will host in June.

During a radio interview, the Prime Minister indicated that given the scale of the event, security has to be ensured. He confirmed that Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will seek other minister’s approval of the extension later on Wednesday 20 April before asking parliament to vote on it, adding “the state of emergency cannot be permanent, but on the occasion of these big events…we have to prolong it.”

The European football competition involves twenty-four national teams and will run from 10 June to 10 July. The proposed two-month extension, which would also cover the Tour de France bicycle race, however will require parliamentary approval. The current state of emergency, which gives police additional powers to carry out searches and place people under house arrest, runs until 26 May. Despite concerns raised by rights groups, who reported that police had abused their powers the state of emergency was extended for an additional three months in February.

The coordinated gun and bomb attacks in Paris in November killed 130 people and were claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group. The Stade de France football stadium, which will host the opening match of Euro 2016 and the final, was targeted by suicide bombers.

Security will be tight at the Euro 2016 tournament, with more than 1,200 security officials deployed for matches at the Stade de France, and an average of 900 across all stadiums in France. On Friday, 15 April, Mr Cazeneuve disclosed that more than 3,500 searches and 400 arrests have been carried out since the state of emergency was first imposed in November.

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