March 3, 2021

EU News: Weeks from Eurostar disaster as UK ignores French appeal for help | Politics | News

Eurostar: Passengers line up in large queues for trains before closing

Eurostar has announced plans to expand its services by carrying 11 million passengers and introducing direct trains to Amsterdam in 2019. However, last year the Govt-19 epidemic forced it to reduce 95 per cent of its services to two services a day from London to Paris and Brussels.

The drastic measures of travel introduced by the Belgian and French authorities are expected to further reduce the number of passengers as only EU citizens and permanent residents are allowed to travel from the UK side.

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shops said Eurostar was not the UK company to be bailed out following a call from French officials to help finance it.

He told the House of Commons Transportation Selection Committee: “We do not do it primarily because we do not own it.

“The nature or infrastructure of the tunnel will not disappear.

Grand Shops has rejected calls for UK funding for Eurostar (Image: Getty)

Eurostar

Eurostar has been hit by a 95 percent drop in services (Image: Getty)

“So there are well-established ways to do these things. I can only do it again – recovery is not our company.”

The UK government sold a 40 per cent stake in cross-channel rail operator Eurostar to the UK-Canadian consortium in 2015 for $ 757.1 million.

Eurostar is 55 percent owned by the French state-owned railway company SNCF, while the Belgian government owns five percent.

Mr Shops pointed out: “You are 55% owned by the French government, so this is not just any old partner, it is a government-backed partner.

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Eurostar

Eurostar Majority SNCF (Image: Getty)

“We will be as helpful as possible.”

Mr Shops concluded: “The solution will be found.

“I don’t think there is any world that can stop that connection and run if we can all travel again in the future.”

Eurostar leaders demanded the same support for COVID-19 as for airlines.

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Transportation

Grand Shops talked about Eurostar this week (Image: Getty)

The fund has tax relief of up to 8 million m at business rates at every major airport in the UK.

Jean-Baptiste Djibouti, France’s junior transport minister, asked the UK National Assembly for “mechanisms for assistance in proportion to everyone’s involvement in Eurostar”.

But he made it clear that the amount of support France would give to Eurostar would be “based on our commitment”.

Express.co.uk understands that French ministers believe the next 12-16 weeks are crucial, with officials saying Eurostar will not survive the summer.

Eurostar: Trains canceled due to strike by French transport workers

Whitehall circles for Express.co.uk found a solution following “production” discussions with French colleagues.

Someone told the publication: “We certainly do not want to see the Eurostar fall. We are getting a solution.”

Meanwhile, Channel Tunnel owner Ketling has seen a nearly 50 per cent decline in freight traffic since the UK left the EU in January.

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A total of 131,746 trucks passed through the subway in December, according to the company’s monthly figures.

Ketling

Ketlinks latest figures reveal a decline in traffic (Image: Getty)

In January, that number dropped to just 82,484 after the introduction of the new Brexit red tape for exporters and importers to the EU.

The company, which is owned by private French shareholders, said the numbers have been significantly affected as businesses find it difficult to understand the new complex export rules.

A spokesman said the issue of bureaucracy would continue to plague demand from the Hallies.

They added: “We need to see improvement in the readiness of traders.

“Making traders is the government’s talk of setting up paperwork systems for importers and exporters so they can export their goods openly.

“If they are not full, trucks will not be allowed to enter Kent.”