In front of Gotthard, cars are currently backed up every weekend on a stretch of around ten kilometres. Anyone wanting to go south would have to wait two hours. Although it is difficult for the victims, it does not compare to what has been happening on Britain’s south-east coast since Friday.
The towns of Dover and Folkestone are used to tourist crowds. Because from there you travel by ferry (Port of Dover) or Eurotunnel (Folkestone) via the English Channel to France and continental Europe. Usually these crossings are trouble-free and the officials work quickly.
The first Brexit experiment failed
But this year is different. Vehicles are backed up for kilometres, and waiting times of several hours are common. For thousands, vacations begin on the Autobahn.
One reason for this: Brexit. On January 21, 2020, Great Britain left the European Union. From then on, it was very difficult for the British to enter continental Europe. They have to show their passport at the customs post and get it stamped. It takes time. How much is not yet clear. As the pandemic began weeks after Brexit, no one traveled. That changed this year. Officials are now facing a new reality for the first time – and can’t cope. Pictures of car avalanches there make the Gothards look tiny.
A Swiss family in the middle
“We’ve been stuck in traffic for over 12.5 hours,” says Alexandra Sievert. He had spent “11 wonderful days” in Cornwall with his family and wanted to take the 9.30am train through the Eurotunnel to Switzerland. It didn’t work.
When Blig spoke to the woman from Durga around 10pm, she was still in the column! “Maybe 400 meters today. The tunnel is still three kilometers away.” Sievert doesn’t expect to get anywhere today.
“The French counters remained empty.”
The British identified someone else as the cause of the confusion rather than the bureaucracy: the French. “Some of the French passport counters were empty,” Doug Bannister, chairman of the Port of Dover, told the Daily Mail. Only six counters were occupied out of twelve on Friday morning. Natalie Elphick, 51, a British MP from the region, blasted the collar: “We’ve been preparing for weeks to start the holidays under the new rules. Now the French are leaving us. Spoiling people’s start to the holidays isn’t something that can be dismissed with a shrug. France owes Dover residents and passengers an apology.
to “telegraph” Dock workers told their French colleagues they had done everything they could. They also built three new pass cabins. But instead of complicating things and loosening the controls a bit, the French “check every eye point”.
The French fight again
Dover’s scenes sent shockwaves at the political level. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, 46, who is tipped to become Great Britain’s next prime minister, waded into the controversy, declaring the current situation “horrendous” but “absolutely avoidable”: “We need action to increase France. The capacity of the border, to limit further disruption to British tourists, and in the future this We will work with the French authorities to ensure that a dire situation is avoided.
Pierre-Henri Dumont, MP for the French port city of Calais, wrote on Twitter: “There is no reason to blame the French authorities for traffic jams in Dover. They are the result of Brexit. We need to do more and longer checks. Proposal to double the number of passport control posts available to French police in Dover. The UK government rejected it a few months ago.”
The situation has not eased at all
At least Doug Bannister was back on Saturday. The port boss praised the work of the French, blaming delays on Brexit, and said French counterparts would now be on site with more staff, which would reduce delays.
It is not known how many French passport houses are occupied. However, it is certain that Bannister was wrong. The situation is even worse than the previous day.
Boys go through the column with inline skates
After all: the Sievert family travels with a caravan, and they have enough to eat and drink. Unlike many people stuck in traffic. “The heat – about 30 degrees – is brutal when you sit in the car for hours and can’t do anything,” says Alexandra Sievert. She and her daughter walked about two miles, more than 3 kilometers, to the nearest store to fetch water. Meanwhile, the little boys will drive through the car caravan on inline skates, and others will go on picnics – everyone is somehow trying to kill time.
“The worst thing is that we don’t get any information. No e-mails, no calls, the police do nothing. Not even water is distributed. Small children, children, old people are sitting in cars – the situation is unimaginable. However, the mood of those waiting is good. They are in the same boat. Everyone knows what’s going on. Talk to each other, try to deal with the situation as much as possible. “But when we come home at some point, we have to recover from the trip first,” Sievert says, adding that she’s glad she added two weeks of vacation. She won’t spend them in the car.
“Friend of animals everywhere. Web guru. Organizer. Food geek. Amateur tv fanatic. Coffee trailblazer. Alcohol junkie.”