British Embassy road may open after 11 years
The central Berlin street home to the British Embassy could be opened to traffic again after 11 years, with politicians putting pressure on security officials to remove the bollards.
A section of Wilhelmstrasse near the Brandenburg Gate was sealed off in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War, amid fears of an attack on the embassy. Armed police and bollards have been present ever since.
But according to Cicero magazine, Berlin’s politicians have started negotiations with security officials to reopen the key thoroughfare.
The Berlin Conservative Democrat (CDU) politician and traffic parliamentary secretary, Oliver Friederici, told the magazine: "The chances that we can do it this time are better than ever.”
“The [traffic] situation in the city centre is not easy due to the many construction sites,” he added.
A spokesman for the embassy told The Local: "This a decision for the Berlin security authorities. If it is their judgement that the threat to the embassy has changed, the ambassador would engage in discussions."
But he added German security services had not yet informed the British of any change in the threat level.
Pressure is coming from politicians in the Berlin Senate and the German Parliament as well as Berlin’s Charité Hospital whose ambulances currently have to find a way round the road block.
Berlin MP Frank Steffelbauer said: "I am pleased that discussions are now moving again, but they must go beyond words. After the closure of Wilhelmstrasse to traffic in Berlin for eleven years, I hope that the road is finally open again."