In the case of a hard Brexit, transportation should be heavily affected between the United Kingdom and France. Eurostar should be halted, according to Nathalie Loiseau. For both British and French politicians, the 20 year-old train line could become the unfortunate child of the Brexit divorce.
However, National French railways organization SNCF CEO Guillaume Pépy declared that Eurostar was too essential to be shut down, encouraging negotiations between the two countries.
A few days ago, Nathalie Loiseau, French Minister of European affairs, added that flight connections between the United Kingdom and France might be banned as well. How will the millions of tourists and daily commuters from Paris to London adjust? What is to expect for the next months? Analysis.
Is Brexit condemning Eurostar?
As the Brexit plot thickens, French government has announced its will to end Eurostar connections. “If we reach no agreement this is what will happen, among other things”, declared Nathalie Loiseau, the French Minister of European affairs.
This announcement happened a week after The Independent revealed top secret governmental documents online. The mission, called “Operation YellowHammer”, raised concerns over “rail access to the European Union” and also preparing for a crash out of the European Union, adding that the first call “should be internal reprioritization”.
After Loiseau’s speech – she was visited French expats, emphasizing that the U.K counts the biggest French expat community in the world – Downing Street did not wish comment on Loiseau’s comments, her comments, insisting contingency plans were set for “all possible scenarios” once Britain leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.
Eurostar workers on strike
Brexit referendum only added more anxiety to Eurostar’s staff over the past months, as many trains were cancelled due to technical and logistical failures.
“The conditions at St Pancras have been simply appalling over the summer with dangerous levels of overcrowding on the concourse as services plunge into meltdown on the cusp of the busiest part of the year”, RMT Eurostar’s Union general secretary Mick Cash said.
A few days ago, tension rose between Eurostar employees and their management. French Union ‘Rail, Maritime and Transport’ announced it would organize a strike on September 30th and October 1st, over “shocking working conditions”.
And while many passengers are already thinking about alternative routes, French Minister Loiseau said that planes could be stopped at the border, too.
Brexit could affect air traffic
In case of a hard Brexit, flight connections between France and the United Kingdom could be severely affected. Loiseau said that in case of unsuccessful negotiations, planes travelling from and to the United Kingdom would simply be grounded and connections stopped.
The Institute for Economic Affairs considered the risk was “conceivable”, while highlighting the United Kingdom is a world leader in aviation, having “plenty of leverage” as the first market in Europe and the third biggest worldwide.
On an international scale, the United Kingdom would also lose air traffic rights in countries such as United States, Canada and Switzerland, as they had been made through the European Union. If the country came to leave the European single aviation market, tourism would be severely affected, as well as stripping most UK-based airlines, operating in more than 25 countries.