Tuesday

16th Aug 2022

European capitals step up New Year's eve security

  • Official New Year celebrations in Brussels have been called off (Photo: Full-tactical)

Fears of possible terrorist attacks ahead of the New Year celebrations have tightened security in major capitals, with both Brussels and Paris cancelling firework displays.

Despite scrapping its firework show, authorities in the French capital say the public gathering at the Champs Elysee avenue will continue as planned.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"After what our city has lived through, we have to send a signal to the world," said Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on Wednesday (30 December).

Some 11,000 police, soldiers, and firefighters are expected on Paris streets.

The Brussels clamp down goes further, with planned festivities in the centre, like live DJ sets, also cancelled. Bars and restaurants will remain open.

"It's better not to take any risks," mayor Yvan Mayeur told Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

The move follows a string of terrorist attacks and foiled plots in the French and Belgian capitals over the past year.

The most recent saw some 130 killed in Paris in mid-November. In August, a heavily armed Frenchman was overpowered on a Thalys train leaving Brussels.

Earlier this week, two suspected members of an Islamic State cell were arrested in Belgium.

No weapons or explosives were found during the Belgian raid.

But Belgium's public prosecutor's office said the arrests revealed "the threat of serious attacks that would have targeted several symbolic places in Brussels and be committed during the end-of-year holidays”.

The Financial Times reports that tourism in Brussels has dropped by a fifth year-on-year in the lead up to Christmas. Restaurant bookings have also been hit.

The heightened tensions are also being felt elsewhere.

Ankara, Berlin, London, Madrid, Moscow, New York, and Vienna have all stepped up security.

Police in Ankara apprehended yesterday two Islamic State suspects. Both are alleged to have planned to stage attacks in the Turkish capital.

London, for its part, is mobilising its largest ever end-of-year armed police patrols, according to the Telegraph newspaper.

Some 6,000 will be on duty.

"As with any other major event in the capital our policing response will be appropriate, but I'd stress we've seen nothing to suggest a specific threat to London", said London mayor Boris Johnson.

Greek PM embroiled in spyware scandal

Greece has become embroiled in a wiretapping scandal that led to the resignation of its intelligence chief as well as the Greek prime minister's top aide.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. Germany rejects visa ban for Russian tourists
  2. Iran responds to EU's 'final text' on nuclear deal
  3. Model minority myths
  4. EU must make public who really owns its fishing fleets
  5. Germany needs to cut gas use by 20% to stave off winter crisis
  6. Europe's wildfire destruction set to hit new record
  7. How Putin and Erdoğan are making the West irrelevant
  8. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us