Brexit: France to veto re-routed trade plan between Ireland and Europe

New route would link State by sea to Dutch and Belgian ports but bypass Calais, Dunkirk

French concern at rerouting: At stake are jobs, millions of dollars’ worth of port revenues and possibly EU infrastructure funding.

French concern at rerouting: At stake are jobs, millions of dollars’ worth of port revenues and possibly EU infrastructure funding.

 

France will not accept a European Commission proposal to exclude French ports from a re-routed trade corridor between Ireland and mainland Europe after Brexit, the government has said.

At the moment much of Ireland’s trade with the continent goes via Britain in trucks. But with less than eight months to go until Britain leaves the European Union there is still little clarity on its future trade relations with the bloc, or the Republic’s Border with Northern Ireland.

The new route advanced by the commission would connect Ireland by sea with Dutch and Belgian ports, including Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. French ports such as Calais and Dunkirk would be bypassed.

“France and Ireland maintain important trade channels, both overland via Britain and via direct maritime routes. The geographical proximity between Ireland and France creates an obvious connection to the single market,” wrote French minister for transport Elisabeth Borne to the EU’s transport commissioner on August 10th.

“Surprisingly, the Commission proposal in no way takes this into account. This proposal therefore is not acceptable to France,” noted Ms Borne.

At stake are jobs, millions of dollars’ worth of port revenues and possibly EU infrastructure funding.

Ms Borne said that French ports had the necessary resources to ensure they could handle the likely increase in trade flows, hinting at concerns of congestion in ports such as Calais, France’s busiest passenger port. – Reuters