French official threatens to stop ferry sailings unless post-Brexit passport rules are relaxed

Manche Iles Express ferries between the Channel Islands and France are partially funded by the Manche regional government. Credit: ITV Channel

A French official has warned that some ferries between the Channel Islands and France could stop running from next year unless post-Brexit rules requiring French passengers to have a passport are relaxed.

The number of people travelling from France to the islands has significantly reduced since new border restrictions were brought in when the UK left the EU.

Many French people do not have a passport, as national identity cards issued to adults can be used to freely travel within Europe.

Now, Jean Morin - the President of the Manche region - told Ouest France the Manche Iles Express' ferry service between France and the islands was running at a loss following a downturn in French passengers.

He has reportedly given Channel Islands officials an ultimatum, saying that local authorities will stop funding Manche Iles Express' parent company, DNO, if the current restrictions are still in place by 1 May 2023.

"If the passport requirement is not lifted by then, we will have no choice but not to renew the service contract for 2024-2025", Morin told local media.

The President of the Manche region of France has asked for passport requirements to be lifted. Credit: PA

The French news channel, FranceInfo, reports that as part of the regional government's public service obligations, for each ticket sold for €30, the taxpayer spends €200.

Jersey's Home Affairs Minister, Deputy Helen Miles, says allowing French passengers to travel using national identity cards is a "key priority":

"Securing a mechanism whereby French nationals can travel to Jersey using identity cards is a key priority of mine.

"Jersey Customs & Immigration officials have been considering the relevant operational, legal, policy and economic issues - all of which must be considered when making changes to existing policy for the Common Travel Area."

She added that the island's government will continue to "cooperate closely" with the UK - which dictates the terms of the Channel Islands' relationship with the EU - in resolving the issue.

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