For more than 10 years in a row it has become a “tradition” in many cities across Europe that youngsters torch vehicles and attack security, fire fighting and medical services on New Year’s Eve. Every year the attacks intensify, every year the incidents are more widespread than the year before.
In Strasbourg alone, more than 200 vehicles were torched on New Year’s Eve 2019. More than 80 vehicles went up in flames that very same night in the other capital of Europe, Brussels. But also in Berlin, Leipzig, Wolfsburg, Växjö and in numerous other European cities extreme violence was displayed against our democracies. In France alone, more than 1 000 vehicles were arsoned during this one night and 100 000 police officers deployed that could not stop outbursts of civil unrest in most of the big French cities but also in many other cities (over 80!), and even in small towns as Grande-Synthe (with less than 30 000 inhabitants), four cars were deliberately set on fire and shops vandalised.
The Parliamentary Assembly should examine how to tackle this pan-European attack on our democratic institutions, destruction of public and private property and the absence of the rule of law in our cities and towns. The Assembly should also examine how to protect our police forces, fire fighters and medical staff for them to be able to execute their duties with full respect from the general public for their important and most valued work. The Assembly needs to hand them the tools to restore law and order for their safety and the safety of all our citizens.