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France says uncertainty around Brexit delay is ‘unacceptable’

France's Europe Minister has described ongoing uncertainty around any Brexit delay as "unacceptable".

France says uncertainty around Brexit delay is 'unacceptable'
France's Europe Minister Natalie Loiseau

The French Europe Minister Natalie Loiseau also said that any Article 50 extension must have  “an objective and a strategy”.

She was speaking as EU leaders meet to discuss the UK's request to extend the Brexit deadline past March 29th. 

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Speaking to reporters ahead of of the EU general affairs council this morning Loiseau said the uncertainty around Brexit was “unacceptable”.

“We need an initiative, we need something new because if it’s an extension to remain in the same deadlock [that would be unacceptable.] How do we get out of this deadlock?

“This is a question for the British authorities,” she said.

 

“[The UK] have said ‘no’ to a no deal and they have said ‘no’ to a realistic deal. Now they have to change their mind on one or the other.”

Loiseau expressed her frustration with the process the day after it was reported that she had named her cat Brexit because he was indecisive and reluctant to leave the house.

Asked about the possibility of the EU granting an extension to Article 50, she said: “Grant an extension – what for? Time is not a solution, it’s a method. If there is an objective and a strategy and it has to come from London.”

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TRAVEL NEWS

France may cut Channel islands ferry service after post-Brexit collapse in visitor numbers

Visits to the Channel islands from France have halved since Brexit, and French local authorities say they may be forced to cut the regular ferry service, asking for the passport requirement to be waived for French visitors.

France may cut Channel islands ferry service after post-Brexit collapse in visitor numbers

Travel to and from the Channel islands – which are British crown dependancies – has reduced significantly since Brexit, when passports became a requirement for those travelling in and out of the islands and their ports.

Now the president of the local authorities in the Manche département of France has asked that passport requirements be lifted, with hopes of increasing travel to and from the islands.

Jean Morin told Ouest France that there has been a “considerable reduction in the number of passengers on routes between the Channel ports and the islands” and as a result the ferry service between France and the islands was seriously in deficit.

“On these lines, we will never make money, but we cannot be in deficit”, explained the Morin. 

He added that if a solution is not found by the deadline of May 1st, 2023, then local authorities will stop funding the shipping company DNO, which runs the Manche Îles Express ferry service.

“If the passport requirement is not lifted by then, we will have no choice but not to renew the service contract for 2024-2025”, Morin told Ouest France.

Only around half of French people have a passport, since the ID card issued to all adults is sufficient to travel within the EU. 

READ MORE: Ask the Expert: How Brexit has changed the rules on pensions, investments and bank accounts for Brits in France

DNO re-launched operations in April and since then, the company, and by extension the département – who plays a large role in funding it via a public service delegation – has been losing significant funds.

According to Franceinfo, the number of passengers has been cut in half since passport requirements were introduced. Franceinfo estimates that for one ticket for one passenger costing €30, the département spends €200.

According to Morin, the ideal solution would be to require a simple ID for tourists seeking to take just day-long or weekend-long stays on the islands – which reportedly represents at least 90 percent of the boats’ usual passengers.

“The Jersey government is working hard on the issue and is waiting for an agreement from London and the European Union. There is the possibility that things could move quickly”, Morin told Franceinfo on Tuesday.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, boats going to and from the French mainland carried at least 110,000 people per year. In 2022, only 40,000 passengers made the journey, Olivier Normand, the sales manager of Manche Îles Express, told Actu France.

Normand had expected the decline, however. He told Actu France that the company had taken a survey, which found that almost half (between 40 and 50 percent) of their clientele did not have a passport. 

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