Eurostar tunnels through UK border ring of steel
Trains won't take the strain
Cross-Channel train operator Eurostar says it will be unable to co-operate with plans to check everyone entering the UK against crime, terror and immigration watchlists, dealing a major blow to the government's £750m e-Borders programme.
Giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee today, Eurostar customer services director Marc Noaro told MPs the requirement to collect and report passenger information to the central e-Borders database, prior to travel, was illegal on the Continent.
"It is not lawful for somebody who is not a law enforcement officer in France and Belgium to demand that information at check in," he said.
Eurostar carried at total of 9.1 million passengers in 2008, so its participation in e-Borders would be essential for the government to "count everyone in and out", as it pledged in its 2006 immigration review. e-Borders was however first announced by then-Home Secretary David Blunkett in 2004 amid political controversy over illegal migration.
The e-Borders system now currently scheduled to check 95 per cent journeys in and out of the UK by December next year. Officials have planned that remaining gaps such as small marinas and airfields will be covered by March 2014.
Under e-Borders, the cost of collecting and reporting passenger identities falls on airlines, ferry companies, and Eurostar and Eurotunnel. They must report both their booking lists and the lists of passengers who make the journey.
A Eurostar spokesman told The Register the company was "extremely concerned" about the "operational, legal and commercial" implications of the scheme. In particular, he said, it will have a detrimental impact on the speed of check-in, which passengers see as a main selling point over air travel.
Eurostar plans to await the Select Committee's report, but pointed to similar comments to MPs today from shipping industry representatives. "We will continue lobbying," the spokesman said. ®
@Rudder wagging the Frog (?)
don't forget the English Sausage (aka Emulsified high-fat offal tube)
@tim williams 2
I agree TOTALLY !!! Jeez...why aren't there more people like you around. If you proposed this to dublin, they'd be in like rats up a drainpipe, and probably take your arm off in the process.....
They'd even give NI citizens permenant dual citizenship regardless..... but they probably would join schengen..Their excuse so far has been..."we have a a porous border with the UK , and they won't play ball....we're SO SORRY!!! (sarcasm)."
Give 'em the tools to do the job, and they might sort things out.....but then, how much faith do you have in politicians these days?
Most people in Ireland aren't happy bunnies these days. House repossessions food prices tax fuel duty paedophile priests bin tax ...... did someone mention the spanish inquisition ?
Rudder wagging the Frog (?)
If, as you assert, David Plonker first mentioned this possibility back in 2004 and it was further mentioned in 2006 why was no comment made then by our loving neighbours out there in "Froggyland" at that time. I observe that no mention has been made by them of "THE AULD ALLIANCE" which has never been repealed and is, by their definition, also illegal today. Surely it is possible to allow them to have their own "boarder" controls (not a mistake). The disunited Kingdom which was envisaged should be re-instated and the financial control re-established where it belongs. Oh, and on this subject, the sub-prime minister should be returned "as damaged in transit and not wanted on voyage". My mention of tails and frogs might be contraversial but, I believe, in keeping with the attitude of our less than grateful allies across the channel. They shiould stick to making claims about Champagne (invented my the English) and to regional variations of wine, claiming to make Cheddar Cheese in Frogland how? Cheddar is in Somerset. And, the claim to produce Golden Delicious apples fail on both counts under the trades deicriptionc act as being neither Golden nor, by any stretch of the imagination, delicious.