Expats, their families and friends urged to be vigilant after attack in Berlin

by Ray Clancy on December 21, 2016

The British Foreign Office has warned expats and their families visiting them to take extra safety precautions after the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany.

Christmas markets around leading cities in Europe are very popular at this time of the year and expats love the feel of traditional markets in cities where they stay and often visit them in groups with family and friends.

PoliceBut officials are warning that any large events in a number of European countries could be targeted by terrorists over the festive period, particularly France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands where the public can expect higher security than normal.

‘There may be increased security in place over the Christmas and New Year period, including at Christmas markets and other major events that might attract large crowds. You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities,’ says the advice from the Foreign Office.

It also says that if travelling around Europe there may be more immigration controls than normal due to heightened security. Immigration controls may temporarily be in place at some road and rail border crossing points, for example in Germany, Hungary, and Slovenia.

The advice for all expats, their friends and families, is to carry their passport when crossing any border due to increased checks and ‘a general threat from terrorism’.

Expats who have families and friends visiting over the holiday period are also advised to make sure they have travel and medical insurance and this covers attacks and hospitalisation as well as the usual cover.

A number of countries, including Italy and the UK, have increased security in public places after the Berlin attack and airports around Europe will be at the highest screening levels which could mean longer queues for people travelling by air.

Ferries from the UK to France have also upped security. Armed guards are understood to be on a number of boats and others are considering adding them to make boats even more secure.

It is thought that attacks on Christmas markets in France were thwarted just last week after police arrested a number of people in Strasbourg and Marseille. The market in Strasbourg is the biggest in Europe and attracts two million visitors over the festive period.

The US State Department has also warned Americans living in Europe and those visiting to be on alert for terrorist attacks.

Shopping centres, which often have extra festive activities at this time of year, are also considered to be a potential for terrorists to attack and people are advised to be vigilant when out shopping for gifts.

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