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GENEVA

‘A declaration of war’: Why France and Geneva are feuding over new motorway plans

Opponents of the new motorway say it’s unnecessary and will cause pollution, while supporters argue that any attempt to stop the motorway would amount to a “declaration of war”.

'A declaration of war': Why France and Geneva are feuding over new motorway plans
Photo: MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently approved a motorway development between Machilly and Thonon-les-Bains. According to Le Parisien, the development will be targeted at ‘opening up the Chablais region’. 

Swiss authorities oppose the plan, saying it is unnecessary – particularly after the recent completion of the Léman Express rail network, which was built to decongest the entire region. 

Philippe d'Espine, spokesman for the city of Geneva, told Le Parisien that the French motorway plan was “nonsense”. 

“This highway section is really not essential and will directly compete with the Léman Express,” he said. 

Tens of thousands of workers live in the region and commute into Geneva daily for work.

Almost half a million vehicles – 446,700 to be exact – crossed into Geneva each day in 2018, as estimated by the Canton of Geneva.

Nine out of ten of the 90,000 border workers who travel into Geneva do so by car. 

As reported by The Local in December 2019, the Léman Express cut travel times significantly for many workers while also reducing costs considerably. Geneva residents lost an estimated 138 hours per year due to traffic. 

READ: How the new Léman Express train link will ease Geneva's traffic woes 

But the opposition to the plan has not only come from the Swiss side of the border. French environmentalists have also spoken out against the plan, saying it would unnecessarily reduce pollution in the area. 

READ: Why Switzerland's roads are among the safest in the world

French politician Christian Monteil, who has campaigned for the new motorway for over a decade, not stopping to mince his words as he spoke out against the Swiss authorities.

Monteil said any attempt to stop the motorway would be considered a “declaration of war”. 

“If an appeal is filed, we will launch counter actions to block Geneva. And we will call all elected officials of Chablais, all Chablaisiens and Chablaisiennes, to join us on Swiss territory.”

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Member comments

  1. “French environmentalists have also spoken out against the plan, saying it would unnecessarily reduce pollution in the area.”

    Eh? I think maybe you mean ‘increase pollution’ ?!!

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HOLIDAY

Traffic warnings issued in France for Pentecost holiday weekend

Traffic authorities have warned of busy roads as people in France head off for the long Pentecost weekend.

Traffic warnings issued in France for Pentecost holiday weekend
Many French people will be heading off for a long weekend until Monday, which marks the Christian celebration of Pentecost (Pentecôte). Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP

Roads will be busy across most of the country on Friday as many people in France take advantage of the public holiday on Monday 24th, which marks the Christian celebration of Pentecost (Pentecôte).

READ ALSO: Pentecost: The French public holiday where people work for free

Bison Futé, the government-run website that monitors traffic levels in France, has put most of the country on orange alert (third highest) on Friday for departures, except for the greater Paris Île-de-France region and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, which were on red alert (second highest).

READ ALSO: What changes in France on Wednesday as phase 2 of reopening begins?

Photo: Bison Futé

On Saturday the whole country will also be on orange alert for departures except for the Île-de-France region, which will be on red alert. And the same will be the case on Monday for returns.

Photo: Bison Futé

Rail disruption for trains to Marseille and from Paris to Toulouse

With SCNF carrying out works at the Saint-Charles station in Marseille, there is expected to be significant disruption in trains arriving in the southern French city from Saturday 22nd and Monday 24th of May.

This includes the TER trains between Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, Avignon via Arles, Narbonne and Lyon; the Intercités between Marseille and Bordeaux (a bus service will be available on Sunday 23rd of May) and the TGV Inoui and Ouigo trains.

The Intercité line from Paris to Toulouse will also be severely disrupted due to building works. There will be no trains running on Sunday, and will restart progressively from Monday.

From Wednesday May 19th, the curfew has been pushed back from 7pm to 9pm. So if you are travelling between 9pm and 6am, you need to fill the latest version of the attestation, which can be found on the TousAntiCovid app.

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