Eurotunnel says British citizens can’t transit through France by road
The official Twitter account of Eurotunnel sparked a storm after it tweeted saying British citizens living in the EU and arriving via the UK would not be allowed to transit France by road to reach their homes, calling them "third country citizens".
The train operator, which runs services carrying cars between Dover and Calais, cited a "French government decision" for the move. A British man who lives in Belgium posted his experience on Twitter, saying he was escorted from the Eurotunnel despite being a card-carrying resident of Brussels. "Tonight I was denied access to the Eurotunnel by the FR customs.
I was told being a Belgian resident (M card holder) was no longer a compelling reason for transiting FR to go home. I was given this document by the FR customs & told to leave," he tweeted. France has tightened its travel restrictions following the surge of infections of the Omicron variant, allowing only those with "compelling reasons".
This includes "nationals of the European Union or equivalent", as well as their partners and children, "who have their main residence in France or who join, in transit through France, their main residence in a country of the European Union". The British Embassy in France had earlier said that UK nationals may only transit France if travelling by air.
The country is facing an unprecedented surge in the number of new COVID-19 infections, with over 200,000 cases a day.
The UK, meanwhile, is also seeing its largest-ever spike with around 130,000 cases as of Wednesday.
The Eurotunnel website says the French government made the decision on December 28. British citizens who do not hold French residency will be considered "3rd country citizens" who can no longer transit France by road to reach their country of residence in the EU.
However, not everyone is facing the same experience. Some members of a Facebook group for British citizens living in Brussels have said they were able to transit via the Eurotunnel. Those with an EU passport and dual nationality may also be exempted.
Last year, the UK required a 14-day quarantine for those from arrived at the UK coming from France or the Netherlands, prompting the Eurotunnel to warn travellers not to turn up without a booking.
The 50km-long undersea tunnel was once heralded as a symbol of the coming together of Europe.