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France and Germany up security at borders

By John Vandiver, Stars and Stripes

STUTTGART, Germany — In anticipation of the annual NATO summit next week, Germany and France have reinstituted border controls, which means Americans planning road trips should expect to be stopped and checked for proper identification as they cross borders.

NATO’s two-day conference kicks off April 3, but tighter security measures already are in effect. Last week, French authorities announced they would restore controls on France’s borders with neighboring countries until April 5. Germany announced similar measures.

That means U.S. citizens planning off-duty trips should be sure to carry their tourist passports to avoid hassles and possible fines for traveling without proper identification.

Travelers on official duty may be authorized to enter France with official orders and a military identification card.

However, U.S. Army Europe officials recommend that all travelers consult with travel experts from their respective organizations about specific guidelines when traveling across any international border.

For people planning visits to Switzerland and Austria — two non-NATO countries — military identification cards and official passports don’t count as valid identification. Instead, tourist passports are required.

It should also be noted that a USAREUR-issued driver’s license is valid in the country where it was issued and that an international license is required for driving in other countries, according to USAREUR.

Meanwhile, USAREUR warns that numerous anti-NATO demonstrators are anticipated in the vicinity of the summit sites. Between April 1 and April 5, up to 15,000 protesters are expected to hold various rallies around the Strasbourg region.

"It’s important that our personnel constantly practice the personal protective measures taught in Level I antiterrorism training and carry the proper documents when traveling in Europe," said Don Grosz, acting chief of the antiterrorism division of the USAREUR operations directorate, in a news release.

Source: http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=61626