The countries of Europe are often attractive travel destinations in the autumn. The crowds of summer have departed, as have the high temperatures and uncomfortable humidity. The changing leaves add color, while the cooler temperatures seem to convey a vibrancy that is lacking during other seasons of the year.
Unfortunately, in 2010, autumn seems to be destined to be remembered for strikes. An article in EUbusiness indicates that “radical” Europeans want to force the nations of the European Union into depositing billions of euros with the EU Government in Brussels. In turn, these monies would be forfeitable by any country country that fails to tighten national spending as much as is required to move them back within the deficit spending levels required by EU law.
The first action for creating the deficit reduction plan will be considered on Wednesday in Brussels where it is expected to generate a protest strike of over 100,000 people. A similar protest will take place in Spain on the same day, with other demonstrations planned, but not yet scheduled, across the countries in the EU. Since most member states of the EU have broken through the deficit barrier and are attempting to cut public spending (including changing the retirement systems), it is likely that strikes by concerned citizens will plague EU countries for the rest of the year and, perhaps, beyond. In fact, solving the differences of opinion among member states concerning this issue will be crucial to the future of the European Union.
We recommend avoiding demonstrations or getting anywhere near strikes or gathered strikers. It’s not that we agree or disagree with their stand, it is just that when we are on a long deserved vacation we intend to enjoy it. It is our belief that the easiest and safest way to do that is to avoid all public demonstrations when you travel.
An article in today’s BBC news indicated that the government of France has taken additional anti-terrorism preparations after being alerted to a potential terrorism attack. The report was specific and indicated that a female suicide bomber intends to target the country’s transportation system. However, the country has also increased its patrols around national monuments, museums and other tourist attractions (including some shopping areas). DW-World also has good coverage of the terror threat.
Recently, France has been threatened by Islamic militants from the Sahara states of Africa. In addition, France’s recent attack on an al Queda camp in Mali may have contributed to the increased potential for terrorism, as may its recent ban on the headscarves worn by many women who practice Islam.
Travel is not an opportunity that comes without its risks in the modern world and all tourists should be alert for possible dangers whenever and wherever they travel. As a consequence, travelers should weigh the potential dangers of travel when deciding whether or not to travel. If you do travel, pay attention to local news reports at your destination for information on potential problems and always avoid public demonstrations or any other situations that might prove dangerous.
The U.S. State Department issued a new version of its August 27th travel warning for Mexico. The only change we could find was that the new warning indicated that “The status of authorized departure of family members of U.S. government personnel from U.S. Consulates in the northern Mexico border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros ended on September 10 following the expiration of the maximum 180 day period.” In addition, the warning indicated that children of US workers in the consulate in Monterrey have been removed from Monterrey. Guess that should give you some idea of the problems Monterrey is currently facing.
The President of France has proposed raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 and citizens of France seem none too happy about the proposal. There will be a 24 hour strike in France starting Tuesday and it is expected to be significant. See this article in the Telegraph for more details.
Avoid travel in France tomorrow, if possible. If not, stay out of the way of the strikers, as this may be a spirited strike.