European Parliament approves temporary rules to keep Eurotunnel working

MEPs adopted temporary measures to keep the tunnel railway connection between continental Europe and the UK running after the end of the transition period.

The Parliament approved the temporary rules under urgent procedure with 684 votes in favour (3 against, 2 abstentions).

Parliament voted in October on legislation allowing France to negotiate a new international agreement with the UK regarding the governance of the Channel Tunnel Fixed Link. The Intergovernmental Commission would remain the main safety authority for the tunnel. That agreement has not yet been reached.

To avoid rail traffic being interrupted in the Channel Tunnel Fixed Link as of 1 January 2021, the Parliament agreed to temporarily extend safety licences and certificates to allow France and the UK sufficient time to conclude a bilateral agreement. The licence for the current tunnel infrastructure manager would remain valid for two months after the end of the transition period. The safety certificates and licences issued under EU law to UK companies would be extended for nine months.

Other contingency measures will be put to the vote on Friday, 18 December to provisionally maintain cross-border connectivity between the UK and the EU on roads and by air as of 1 January 2021.

Next steps

The temporary rules have to be adopted also by the Council. They will enter into force when published on EU Official Journal and cease to apply on 1 October 2021 at the latest.

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