Traffic jam of up to twelve hours: “The French are ruining our summer vacation”
There is chaos on the English Channel: tabloids and Brexiters blame France – but the traffic problem remains domestic.
In the old days, Britain may have declared war on France because of such “disrespectful” treatment of its citizens by the neighboring government. Instead of finally being able to enjoy a well-deserved summer vacation on the continent, tens of thousands of Brits were stuck in their stalled vehicles on the streets of Dover Ferry Port over the weekend.
Because clearance by the French Border Police, which is for ferries at Dover and for Eurotunnel passengers at the tunnel entrance at Folkestone, did not go as smoothly as the British side had hoped – at the start of the school holidays in England. , on the busiest weekend of the year.
Many passengers were stuck in their cars for hours. Some complained of waiting twelve hours or more. Crying children, distraught parents and angry truck drivers were literally trapped. On Sunday, when traffic in Dover began to move slowly again, thousands of holidaymakers were still denied access to the tunnel for hours due to blocked sections of motorway.
Charges against French border officials
The traffic chaos led to hostile reactions from the British. foreign Minister Liz Truss, who is currently running to replace Boris Johnson, concerned about the “disgraceful and unacceptable situation” created by France. England’s influential and anti-European right-wing press accused Paris of slowing border controls because of Brexit “out of sheer vengeance”.
“Quelle Surprise!” What a surprise, “Daily Express” sarcastically said: “The French are ruining our summer vacation again.” Brexit hardline Dover Tory MP Natalie Elfique accused French border officials in general of “not showing up for work”.
It was not that simple. As it turned out, many French border officials were delayed by an hour to go to work on Friday morning for maintenance work. This contributed to the first traffic jam at the beginning of the crisis.
“Traffic chaos will probably return to normal from now on.”
In general, however, even fully manned checkpoints were not able to cope with the influx of tourists. At the border controls that have become necessary after Brexit, British passport holders can no longer simply be “waved” as in the past.
Since documenting valid mutual residency restrictions now requires proper passport control and later passport stamping, car check-in times have increased from half a minute to between one and two minutes.
However, due to last summer’s pandemic and travel restrictions, the effect of these controls was not yet visible. Lord Peter Ricketts, former British ambassador to France, said: “For the first time since Brexit we have seen full border pressure.”
But since the port of Dover is so small and the government has failed to invest in expanding border facilities, there is now a real problem even with fully occupied customs houses, the former diplomat said: “Maybe from now on there is traffic chaos. Will be back to normal.” (Read Dover’s Brexit report on the subject “Truck traffic jams are now as much a part of the city scene as the white rocks”,
In fact, Boris Johnson’s government had categorically rejected the Port Authority’s request for an additional £33m in 2020 to upgrade handling facilities and deal with the new Brexit realities. The fact that Brexit costs money, rather than brings, was never the message of Brexiters.
The matter may get worse at the border
At the time, you only declared that Brexit meant “control your borders”. That the other side would also like to control its borders: leaving the EU was not the point. “In any case, France is not responsible for Brexit,” said French transport minister Clement Beaune over the weekend.
There are apprehensions on both sides of the canal that the situation may worsen for the passengers. Experts have warned that the introduction of a new biometric control system by the European Union, perhaps by the end of the year, could result in more than 20 kilometers of traffic jams in the south-east corner of England.
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