Hollande promises tighter Euro 2016 security | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 29.03.2016
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Hollande promises tighter Euro 2016 security

French President Francois Hollande has ordered an additional 3,000 security professionals for the football tournament. Surveillance will be tightened in light of the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels.

In a speech to representatives of a top French sports association on Tuesday, Hollande said the security budget for the Euro 2016 football tournament had been raised by 15 percent to allow for additional security measures.

He said the month-long soccer tournament this summer would proceed as planned with security "at a maximum," despite fears that it may have to be curtailed following a series of attacks in Paris last year and last week's Brussels attacks.

"The Euro 2016 should be a pursuit that includes coming together, unity, respect, tolerance and - within the context that we know - a form of response. A response to hatred. To division. To fear. To horror," Hollande told his audience.

As well as 51 sold-out matches at football stadiums around France from June 10 - July 10, special fans zones were planned in several cities so spectators can watch the games on large screens. Those zones are expected to go ahead.

Hollande told French football's elite that 2.5 million people are expected to attend the matches in 10 French cities, and about 5 million are expected to visit the open-air areas.

While acknowledging that the risk of attacks was high, Hollande said it was important to "not yield to this pressure and this threat."

Memories still fresh

Paris' Stade de France was one of the targets for Islamist militants last November in coordinated attacks that left 130 people dead.

The France v Germany friendly football match, taking place inside the stadium, was rocked by three suicide bombings nearby, which killed one other person.

Stade de France pitch invasion

Fans invaded the pitch after blasts near the stadium

Investigators believe the attacks could have caused greater loss of life if the first bomber had not been prevented from entering the stadium.

But despite fears of repeat attacks, Hollande - who had attended the soccer match - told his audience on Monday there was never a question of canceling the tournament.

"We know what happened, in Paris, in Saint Denis. We were there. Many of the people gathered here today were there in the stadium... But the Euro 2016 must be a way of responding."

Meanwhile, the French national squad return to the Stade de France on Tuesday for a friendly against Russia.