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Germany

Germans to Keep Existing Driver's Licenses

Germany, supported by France, Austria, Poland and Denmark, has put a brake on EU plans for a mandatory exchange of national driver's licenses into a common EU license. At a meeting of EU transport ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, German Transport Minister Manfred Stolpe blocked Brussels' intentions to swap the existing 110 different licenses within the European Union into a EU-wide one within the next ten years. Brussels says it will make forgeries more difficult. Stolpe stressed that the new regulation would have meant the forced exchange of some 30 million German drivers' licenses -- a move he said was totally unacceptable. The unnecessary and bureaucratic exchange action would have cost the German government an estimated 800 million euros ($967 million) and each citizen some 30 euros, the minister said. Stolpe added that the new document would have to be exchanged for a new one every ten years, opening the door to further red tape.

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