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Bern and Vienna agree on Euro 2008 security

Samuel Schmid and Liese Prokop signed the security document in Bern on Wednesday

(Keystone)

Switzerland and Austria have signed a joint framework agreement on ensuring security at the Uefa 2008 European football championships.

The planned measures are designed to protect the public against hooliganism, terrorism and other forms of criminality.

Swiss President Samuel Schmid and Austrian Interior Minister Liese Prokop signed the agreement in Bern on Wednesday. Switzerland and Austria are jointly hosting the championships.

"The aim of the two host countries is to organise a peaceful and harmonious European football championships," said Schmid, who is also minister of defence and sport.

Schmid's ministry said the framework accord formed the basis of the joint security concept which Switzerland and Austria would implement.

In a statement it said the measures applied had to be transparent and appropriate, but that tough action would be taken against troublemakers.

Dialogue, de-escalation, defence

According to the ministry, the Austrian and Swiss security forces will follow the "3D approach": dialogue, de-escalation and defence.

Guidelines will be drawn up on the protection of people and buildings, while acts of violence will be classified according to severity.

Close cooperation with national football governing bodies in other European countries will help prevent known troublemakers entering Switzerland or Austria, the statement added.

The two countries also agreed on "intensive cooperation" to collect and pass on information relating to possible terrorist or extremist threats.

They further agreed to create police information and coordination centres to provide back-up to security officers by collecting and analysing relevant information.

The framework accord also foresees a common media and communications strategy and a common training policy for all security officers and stewards.

Austria and Switzerland gave commitments as long ago as 2001 that they would ensure security during Euro 2008.

Since then the Swiss government has proposed a series of measures to clamp down on hooligans, including a database of known offenders, police powers to seize and confiscate extremist propaganda and exclusion of troublemakers from sport venues during matches.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

On December 2002, Uefa selected Switzerland and Austria to co-host Euro 2008.

The championships will take place from June 7 to 29, 2008.

Matches will take place in four Swiss stadiums - Basel, Bern, Geneva and Zurich - and four stadiums in Austria – Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Vienna.

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