Poland is investing heavily
in security for next year's European Championships despite
downgrading the number of visitors it expects.
Commandoes have been simulating a multiple hostage situation
in case criminals target the world's second largest football
tournament, which is being co-hosted with Ukraine next June.
Poland's centrist government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk,
a passionate football fan, now expects some 800,000 football fans
to visit their four host cities - Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan and
"We got above 100 million zlotys ($30 mln) from the state
budget this year that we are spending entirely on Euro 2012
security," Polish police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said on
"This money goes first and foremost for 600 new vans.
Secondly, we are also buying helmets, epaulets, pads, shields,
everything that a policeman is equipped with. Let's just hope
they won't have to be used."
The Polish police and special forces have also held a
week-long training session to better coordinate their
"We are training for the things that our unit was set up to
do, business as usual, but there are more preparations ahead of
Euro 2012 as there is a need for more operators," Colonel Piotr
Gastal, head of Poland's top special forces unit GROM, told
"The Polish police holds the main responsibility for
security during Euro 2012, but in case of a multiple hostage
situation our unit can enter as the police is not trained or
equipped enough to handle that."
GROM has rehearsed releasing 20 or more hostages from public
transport and public buildings, such as hotels and train
"We are not aware of any additional, specific risks in
Poland, but the sole fact of organising such an event like the
Euros may be a target and we have to be prepared for various
situations," Gastal said.
Poland scaled down the number of fans it expects to visit
during Euro 2012 after last week's finals draw meant more
popular teams such as Germany and England will play in Ukraine.
"Still, I hope for some several hundred million zlotys of
additional revenue from football fans' spending during the games,"
said Marcin Herra, head of the PL.2012 company dedicated to
coordinating the tournament.
Poland also pegged a large-scale building programme to Euro
2012 and is upgrading its antiquated road infrastructure for the
tournament, largely thanks to European Union's aid funds.
"These investments is worth above 96 billion zlotys," said
PL.2012's Mikolaj Piotrowski.
"This speeding up in infrastructure may add a premium of
some 20 billion zlotys by 2020 to the Polish Gross Domestic
Product, a premium we would not have if it wasn't for the
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