France rejects Brexit delay: ‘We can’t do this every three months’

UPDATED: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday rejected any further delay to Britain's exit from the EU.

France rejects Brexit delay: 'We can't do this every three months'

The deadline is now scheduled for October 31 but has been further clouded by the political turmoil in London.

“In the current circumstances, its no! … We are not going to go through this every three months,” Le Drian said on Le Grand Rendez-vous Europe1/CNEWS/Les Echos programme.

“The (British) say that they want to put forward other solutions, alternative arrangements so that they can leave,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's efforts to find a way out of the backstop mechanism for Northern Ireland, the main sticking point.

“But we have not seen them and so it is 'no'… let the British authorities tell us the way forward,” he said.

“Let them take responsibility for their situation. It’s very worrying. They have to tell us what they want.” 

Britain was originally meant to leave the European Union on March 29 but with parliament deadlocked the British government ended up negotiating two delays, the latest to October 31.

As reported by The Local on September 5th, Le Drian said that the most likely result now appeared to be a “no-deal Brexit”. 

Le Drian forecast the potential for tensions to rise between the United Kingdom and France should a deal fail to be reached, saying that the countries would need to work hard to ensure they maintained a continued dialogue. 

“There will have to be discussions at some point, even if only about landing airplanes and the Eurostar (cross-Channel rail service).”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also rejected the possibility of extending the deadline, saying there were “no ifs, ands or buts” that the UK would leave the EU on the 31st of October – with or without a deal. 

Member comments

  1. The vote happened 3 years ago and this is still going on? They should leave the EU and either a residency card is issued or the Brits have to leave. The EU is under no obligation to accept any deal.

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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.