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The port of Calais for fear a Brexit chaotic

There are few places in which the Brexit, the scheduled but still uncertain exit of Uk from the European Union, go to to be noticed as much as in Calais. This c

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The port of Calais for fear a Brexit chaotic

There are few places in which the Brexit, the scheduled but still uncertain exit of Uk from the European Union, go to to be noticed as much as in Calais. This city of 75,000 inhabitants in the northwest of France, with its sea port and the entrance to the tunnel under the English channel, the main passage sea of people and goods between the european continent and the british isles. Calais is still recovering from the immigration crisis of 2015, which became the temporary residence of thousands of africans and asians who were seeking to cross the channel. The Brexit threat with new problems. Customs controls may end up causing traffic jams and constitute a burden for the city.

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From the window of the café of the port terminal, you see the trucks entered the boats, they come in destination to Dover; other ships dock at the port and disembarking the vehicles. Two million trucks passed through here in 2017, a point of passage of almost half of the traffic through this area (the other half is concentrated in the tunnel and the nearby port of Dunkirk). Every half hour departs a ferry. The travel between the shore and the other shore: one hour. The traffic is fluid.

“How beautiful”, is a proud Jean-Marc Puissesseau, president-director general of the port of Calais, while watching the comings and goings. Since the referendum of two years ago, when the british decided to leave the EU-the Brexit monopolizes the time of Puissesseau. Will mark the future of the city and of the business. Still don't know how. "For now, as they say, the English, wait and see," he says. Wait and see.

is Not the same as the auto output to occur on the 29 of march, as was initially planned, that if you fixed a transitional period thereafter, as set forth in the agreement between Brussels and London, pending ratification. It would be very different than a solution with some kind of covenant customs, that the so-called Brexit hard, a total rupture. In this case, Calais will become an external border of the EU and all products coming from the other shore would be subject to the same controls as those of any foreign country. The worst case scenario would be that all of this occurred because, on march 29.

“If the Brexit arrives in five months, almost can be said that it is Piabet a catastrophe," said David-Olivier Caron, general secretary of the union CFDT-Customs, and exaduanero in Calais. Caron refers to the lack of infrastructure, customs, to which we must add the facilities to the controls of agricultural products and health. The unionist adds the need to hire new customs and train them. It is estimated that it will take 700 —not just in Calais but in other points of entry in France— to manage the Brexit.

"The priority is to preserve the fluidity of the traffic in the tunnel under the English channel and in the port," warns Faustine Maliar, chief of cabinet deputy Natacha Bouchard, mayor of Calais, and regional councilor in the region Hauts-de-France. The fear is that the rise times of control in the customs to carry the carriers to use belgian ports or Dutch instead of Calais.

Not all scenarios are catastrophic: in the best of cases everything could continue as now. And the business would come round if reinstaurase the duty-free, duty-free shops that were in the ferry before the european legislation obliging it to remove them at the end of the nineties.

The duty-free was a claim to british tourists, as all three retired people who are happy after having eaten and drunk in the restaurant Le Channel in Calais, waiting for the Wednesday in the terminal to take the ferry that they would return to their country. Were day trippers: travelers of a day, in English. Arrive in the morning, eat lunch and leave. The three voted against Brexit, in spite of the which will not fail to visit France. Perhaps, they note, is to slow down the wait at the border controls. “To complicate things”, laments one of them. Nothing serious, compared to what I expected the truck drivers.

David Sagnard, head of a transport company in Calais, explains that each minute of travel by truck costs one euro: a time of waiting are 60 euros more, two hours 120... If the customs controls cause traffic jams, cost will end up enhancing the service and maybe it will lead to the uk customers to find alternative supply routes. Another risk, according to Sagnard, is that, with the traffic jams, Calais re-attract migrants who want to cross illegally to England. "If the trucks are locked, there is a risk that they will return for up in them", he says.

In the north of Calais, where before was the Jungle —the camp of immigrants dismantled in the fall of 2016, where they arrived to live some 10,000 people— there is nothing left, only one field. It is now a protected natural space.

on the roads close to the port and the Jungle circulating groups of immigrants. The city Council believes that they are now between 400 and 600 in Calais and its surrounding area. The closer you get to the port or the tunnel, more police patrols.

In a park in the center of the city there is a statue of Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill. They pass a group of teenagers from Calais bike. Stop next to the monument, inaugurated a year after the referendum on the Brexit. “Look how handsome with his pure,” laughs one. The ups and downs in the relationship of De Gaulle and Churchill, two giants of the TWENTIETH century, are the living reflection of the complex relationship franco-british. The Brexit opens another chapter.

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