Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Europe Travel Warnings, sports and terror anxiety

The most updated map of Europe. Kosovo is highlighted in red and Montenegro in brown. Europe's current borders may change in the near future depending on the ongoing separatist movements in the region and the movement's international support and recognition abroad.

The article below was originally written May 31st.
 Summer has already begun for most of the world. There will be hundreds of migrants from Asia and Africa attempting to make the Mediterranean crossing to Europe ie Italy, Greece and Spain including the occupied Canary Islands and the tiny autonomous Spanish cities Cueta and Melilia in Morocco. Refugees are still crossing the border into Turkey from Syria. Despite the deaths of 880 migrants last week, more people will continue to come even as Greece closes down the Idomeni Camp on Macedonia-Greece border and Turkey slowly begins to turn boats away from Europe. The continuous war in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan have pushed people to risk their lives to find safety in neighbouring countries or abroad.

Euro 2016 Preview

On a non political note, Europe is also getting ready to witness the second most watched football competition in the world after the World Cup: Euro 2016. The commencement of Euro 2016 championships hosted by France, coincides with the Copa America 2016 Centennial. The United States will be hosting Copa America 2016 for the first time ever. It is worth noting that football or soccer (in U.S., Australia and New Zealand) is still seen as a kid's sport and not as popular as basketball and baseball. It ranks fourth after Hockey in the list of top five popular sports in the U.S. 
 The U.S. State Department has issued a terror attack warning as part of the usual travel warning for Americans travelling to the games or visiting Europe in general to be alert of their surroundings. Sporting venues in the United States are now famous for involving a collaboration of fighter jets, CIA/FBI, local homeland security police, sheriff departments and private security contractors monitoring the stadium, crowd, lines and movements around the clock and weeks before the tournaments began. The same measures were taken during the 2012 London Olympics. There were British soldiers sitting in the stadium crowds on various events. In short, football security has become like Israeli security state. France has used a lot of security measures to make sure that even microscopic details are not overlooked. All of these measures are providing relief to the more paranoid and anxious Europeans and other visitors who may feel that security state should be breathing down every person's neck.

Back to Euro 2016. This year will see the top, the best of the best and fortunate national teams across Europe vying for the title of UEFA Euro champions. Some 10 million people are expected to attend the tournament and travel around France at the same time. Most of the world will be watching with blood pressures and anxiety rising throughout the month long derby from June-July 2016. Like any sporting venue, security will be egregiously tedious. Following the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, in which the Stade du France (national football stadium) was attacked, French security forces and the government have taken every precautionary measure to ensure that any future attack does not occur at any other public venue or event. 

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