HomeEuropeEU transport commissioner slams French coronavirus trucking restrictions

EU transport commissioner slams French coronavirus trucking restrictions

European Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean slammed France’s halt of cross-Channel freight traffic.

“I deplore that France went against our recommendations and brought us back to the situation we were in March when the supply chains were interrupted,” Vălean wrote on Twitter Wednesday evening.

From Sunday, EU countries one by one imposed travel bans on the U.K. over fears that travelers could carry a new variant of the coronavirus said to be 70 percent more transmissible, to the Continent.

But France also extended its 48-hour ban to people moving freight, leaving thousands of truckers stranded. Traffic has only resumed slowly, as truckers must test negative to cross the Channel.

“We have exactly followed the EU recommendation (opening with tests) and are now more open than other European countries, having worked jointly with the UK authorities on this protocol,” French Europe Minister Clément Beaune replied on Twitter overnight.

The Eurotunnel and the Calais and Dover ports will stay open throughout Christmas to help truckers return home, U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Truckers stuck in the queues are exhausted and frustrated, Joanna Popiołek, the head of the transport department of Polish industry association ZMPD, warned.

“Christmas is coming and for us Poles … the 24th of December is very important. So, they are quite upset and I understand them,” she said.

The Commission on Tuesday issued a recommendation stressing EU countries shouldn’t restrict transport workers, echoing its Spring-time “green lanes” principle to curb border waits for truckers.

Vălean also asked EU countries to relax rules on truckers’ driving and rest times and not to apply holiday driving bans “to allow drivers to get back to their families for Christmas.”

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