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French government faces court over Chunnel disruption


FRANCE THIS week faced legal action from the European Commission over its failure to stop refugees disrupting Channel Tunnel rail freight.

European internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein last week told rail freight representatives that he would take France to court if disruption continued.

Figures released this week by Eurotunnel revealed a 49% reduction in freight passing through the tunnel during the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year.

Cross channel services continue to be disrupted by asylum seekers trying to reach the UK with only a fraction of the trains required travelling through (News last week).

Representatives from the Rail Freight Group last week met Bolkestein to put the case for higher security at the French freight terminal at Frethun, outside Calais.

Bolkestein warned them that if the situation did not improve quickly, he would be prepared to start legal action against the French government to force them to improve services, although he admitted that proceedings could take up to two years.

This week's Eurotunnel figures show a drop in freight passing through the tunnel in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year from 725,868t to 367,199t.

Train frequencies increased this week, partly as a result of increased security at Frethun.

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