Vacationers and heavy goods carts were left stationary in traffic jams on their way to the port in Kent, southern England on Saturday, with the port admitting “today is going to be very busy” and travelers being warned to wait for four hours.
The UK and France have entered a round of finger-pointing over the cause of the stalemate, with British lawmakers blaming staff on the French side, and French officials nodding to increase customs checks after Brexit.
“The British are right to complain, because there are traffic jams. But this is not the fault of the French, it is the fault of Brexit,” French MP from Calais, Pierre-Henri Dumont, told France Public Radio.
“The truth is that this is the first leave after Brexit. After the UK’s final exit from the European Union and without travel restrictions due to the Covid pandemic…French border forces are putting in place controls as they should in order to enter the European Union and that takes time.” .
The French MP also blamed the size of the port of Dover, which he said was “three times smaller than the port of Calais”.
Doug Bannister, chief executive of the Port of Dover, agreed that Brexit had led to delays, telling LBC on Saturday that his team “recognizes that we are in a post-Brexit environment, which means cross-border transaction times will take longer.” “.
But British lawmakers insisted that a shortage of staff in Calais had blocked the route through the canal.
“We need action from France to build capacity at the border to limit any further disruption to British tourists and to ensure that this horrific situation is avoided in the future. We will work with the French authorities to find a solution,” Truss said. Friday statement.
Dumont said all booths that British authorities in Dover gave to French police in Dover were fully equipped, while acknowledging a slight delay in the early hours of Friday due to a “technical failure”.
He denied allegations reported by the British press about the “deliberate desire to punish the British,” adding that “many French families make their living from the crossing of the Canal… with men and women sailors on the ground.”
P&O Ferries asked passengers to allow up to four hours to clear security checks in Dover on Saturday morning.
Relations between Britain and France have become increasingly strained since Britain left the European Union, with leaders in both countries embroiled in disagreements over travel and over migrant boats crossing the Channel.
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