European cities need more money and powers to improve security: Mayor of French city Nice

Nice's Mayor Christian Estrosi at a commemorative ceremony marking the first anniversary of the jihadist truck attack in Nice, southern France, on Bastille Day, on July 14, 2017.
Nice's Mayor Christian Estrosi at a commemorative ceremony marking the first anniversary of the jihadist truck attack in Nice, southern France, on Bastille Day, on July 14, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

NICE, FRANCE (Reuters) - The mayor of the French city of Nice, where dozens were mown down a year ago by an attacker driving a truck, has said he will convene European counterparts next month to see how they can improve security in the aftermath of Thursday's (Aug 17) van attack in Barcelona.

Eighty-six people were killed in the extremist attack in the French Riviera city, the first of several similar incidents in European cities.

"I am convinced that life will prevail over death, and that we will triumph over barbarism and terror," Mr Christian Estrosi told reporters, after honouring Barcelona's victims on the Promenade des Anglais where dozens had died on Bastille Day last year.

"It's obvious that it is the mayors - be it in Berlin, London, Paris, Nice, Barcelona or Stockholm - that are the first to be confronted with this violence and who manage these public areas... but we are not the ones who take part in the big national and European reforms," he said.

Mr Estrosi said he had taken the difficult decision to spend 30 million euros (S$48 million) from his budget to protect potential target areas in Nice from possible vehicle attacks, and that cities needed more money to cope with the new threats.

He said the mayors of a number of cities, which he did not name, would meet on Sept 28-29 in Nice with Mr Julian King, the European commissioner in charge of security issues. They will discuss ways to improve the situation and review national and European legislation and proposals that are at times too restrictive.

"We won't win the war with the rules of peace," Mr Estrosi said.