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Manche Îles service under threat as French passport issue unresolved

Manche Îles service under threat as French passport issue unresolved

Wednesday 01 February 2023

Manche Îles service under threat as French passport issue unresolved

Wednesday 01 February 2023


There will no Manche Îles Express sailings between the island and France next year - unless border controls in Jersey are changed to make it easier for passengers without passports to travel.

Jean Morin, who is president of the Manche département, told French media this week that unless a solution was found by 1 May this year, then local authorities would stop funding the shipping company which runs the service.

“If the passport requirement is not lifted by then, we will have no choice but not to renew the service contract for 2024-2025”, M. Morin told Ouest France.

The issue is that, post-Brexit, everyone who travels into Jersey needs a passport. That might sound straightforward to islanders, but in France many people still only hold a carte d’identité or CNI, which is a government-issued form of identity.

The CNI can be used for travel with the EU, and used to be accepted when entering the UK Common Travel Area before Brexit.

Holding a valid passport became a requirement from 1 October 2021. However, only half of France citizens hold a passport.

M Morin hopes for flexibility in the arrangement – at least allowing day-trippers holding just the CNI to visit the Channel Islands.

External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf previously said he was working hard to find a solution.

Asked how soon the use of ID cards could be reinstated, he told the JEP in December that "significant progress" had been made.

"If this decision can be finalised and put over the line, it will have a very significant impact on next year's tourist season," he said at the time, adding: "There is still some dotting of i's and crossing of t's to be done."

Ozouf-Philip.jpg

Pictured: External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf.

This season’s Manche Îles Express sailings are due to begin on Saturday 22 April and conclude at the end of September.

According to Franceinfo, the number of passengers travelling with the ferry operator has halved since passport requirements were introduced. The news site estimates that for one ticket for one passenger costing €30, the département spends €200.

Before the pandemic and Brexit, boats going to and from the French mainland carried at least 110,000 people per year. In 2022, only 40,000 passengers made the journey, Olivier Normand, the sales manager of Manche Îles Express, told Actu France.

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Posted by Paul Troalic on
Well sorry but rules are rules. We cannot enter France or any other EU country post Brexit for more than 90 days and this is being vigorously applied by the French authorities.
Perhaps the French could resolve this issue at the same time as demanding we change our rules.
Posted by IanSmith97 on
This is a matter for the U.K. as we are in the U.K. & ROI common travel area. We are the frontier of the U.K. so it is up to them. However if it is possible to reinstate travel on French ID cards to here will we be allowed in to France for a day trip without a passport. Somehow I doubt it. Our island government has form on negotiating things which benefit foreigners and not making the benefits reciprocal. Exchange of driving licences is a prime example. We allow certain countries to exchange their licences for Jersey ones whilst they refuse to exchange ours. FACT.
Posted by The old git Git on
Well said Paul
Posted by Lesley Ricketts on
Threats again from France. When are we going to stop allowing them to hold us to ransom.
Posted by Gary O'Brien on
Or , on the other hand , as per usual the Jersey government could bend over backwards to resolve the situation in favour of the French tourist.
Posted by David Kingham on
Stick by the rules, it's not an option
Posted by Jo Collins on
From the comments it seems people have forgotten that it is the UK that got us into this farcical mess and not the French. The French are only invoking rules the UK decided to create by their decision to leave the EU.
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