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PARLIAMENT

France says Brexit delay ‘in nobody’s interest’

France said on Saturday that any new delay in Britain's departure from the EU was "in nobody's interest" after British MPs postponed a decision on a new Brexit deal.

France says Brexit delay 'in nobody's interest'
Backbench MP Oliver Letwin drew up the amendment that delayed a meaningful vote on leaving the European Union. Photo: Jessica Taylor / UK Parliament / AFP
“An agreement has been negotiated. It is now up to the British parliament to say whether it accepts or rejects it,” the French presidency said. Following the vote, President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone to Prime
Minister Boris Johnson, the French presidency said.
   
The British Parliament voted by 322 votes to 306 in favour of an amendment effectively calling on Johnson to seek a Brexit extension to avoid a no-deal departure on October 31.
   
Macron had said on Thursday, when the deal was sealed between Johnson and the EU in Brussels, that he was “reasonably confident” it would be approved by British lawmakers.
   
“I think the October 31 date should be respected. I don't think that new deadlines should be given. We need to end these negotiations and get on with negotiating the future relationship,” he said on Friday.

Member comments

  1. It’s about time Macron realised that 27 other countries have a say in the EU not just France. It’s blatantly obvious that Macron fancies himself as the next EU president but of course all he lacks is political experience.

  2. I don’t understand this delay. The Brussels isn’t going to negotiate another deal – it’s over. So either we accept and leave with a bad deal or worse, leave without a deal – there is no ‘third way’ Either you fuckinig vote ‘yes’ or ‘No’. Common Briton – get on with it.
    I hope Mr Letwins constituents explain this to the noggin

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TRAVEL NEWS

‘We will be ready’ vows France, amid fears of UK border chaos

Transport bosses have raised fears of long queues in British ports when the EU's new EES system comes into effect next year, but French border officials insist they will be ready to implement the new extra checks.

'We will be ready' vows France, amid fears of UK border chaos

The EU’s new EES system comes into effect in 2023 and many people – including the boss of the Port of Dover and the former UK ambassador to France – have raised concerns that the extra checks will lead to travel chaos on the UK-France border, and see a repeat of the long queues experienced last summer.

Port of Dover CEO Doug Bannister told The Local that he feared “tailbacks out of the port and throughout Kent” because the new system could take up to 10 minutes to process a car with four passengers, as opposed to 90 seconds currently.

EXPLAINED What the EES system means for travel to France in 2023

But French border control have insisted that they will be ready, replying to questions from the European Commission with “Oui, La France sera prête” (yes, France will be ready).

French officials said they had already undertaken extension preparation and would begin test runs of the new system in French border posts at the end of this year.

document shared recently by the secretariat of the EU Council (the EU institution representing member states) and published by Statewatch, a non-profit organisation that monitors civil liberties, shows how countries are preparing. 

“France has prepared very actively and will be on schedule for an EES implementation in compliance with the EU regulation,” French authorities say.

“The French authorities have carried out numerous studies and analyses, in cooperation with infrastructure managers, to map passenger flows at each border crossing post… and evaluate the EES impact on waiting times,” the document says. 

However, despite the preparation, the French admit that long waits at the border remain a worry, adding: “the prospect of the impact of EES on waiting times at the borders worries infrastructure managers. The fact remains that fluidity remains a concern, and that exchanges are continuing with each border post manager to make progress on this point.”

The EES system is due to come into effect in May 2023 and will be applied at all EU external borders – find full details on how it works HERE.

However there has been particular concern about the France-UK border due to three things; the high volume of traffic (in total over 60 million passengers cross the border each year); the fact that many travel by car on ferries and the Eurotunnel (while the EES system seems more designed with foot passengers in mind); and the Le Touquet agreement which means that French border control agents work in the British ports of Dover and Folkestone and at London St Pancras station.

EES is essentially a more thorough passport checking process with passengers required to provide biometric information including fingerprints and facial scans – border checks will therefore take longer per passenger, and this could have a big effect at busy crossing points like Dover.

The UK’s former ambassador to France, Lord Ricketts, told The Local: “I think the EES, in particular, will be massively disruptive at the Channel ports.”

The EU consultation documents also revealed more details of how EES will work on a practical level for car passengers – those travelling by ferry or Eurotunnel to France – with border agents set to use computer tablets to gather biometric information like fingerprints so that passengers don’t have to get out of their cars.

READ ALSO France to use iPads to check biometric data of passengers from UK

Doug Bannister added that Dover agents were “awaiting an invitation” to France to see how the new systems will work. 

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