Boris Johnson’s Bridge to France Idea Dismissed by the European Commission

    Photo by Financial Times/Flickr

    The European Commission has dismissively reacted to a suggestion that was made by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, that a bridge should be built between France and Britain to complement the Channel Tunnel.

    On Monday, a spokesperson for the European Commission was asked on whether such a project would be applicable for the funding of the European Union.

    “I have the feeling that this project is not there,” said the spokesperson to reporters in Brussels, noting that the project was not included on a list of priority “trans-European networks” that were drawn up by the commission.

    Last Thursday evening during a visit by President Emmanuel Macron of France, Johnson floated the said idea arguing that it was “ridiculous” that the two economies were connected only by a railway line.

    The following day, Downing Street also rejected the project, suggesting that cooperation with France would only be limited to “a panel of experts who will look at major projects together including infrastructure.”

    In turn, the idea for a 22-mile bridge was ridiculed by the chamber of shipping of the United Kingdom, which suggested that “building a huge concrete structure in the middle of the world’s busiest shipping lane might come with some challenges.”

    The 31-mile Channel Tunnel was completed in 1994. It runs from near Folkestone in Kent to Calais and carried a 160km/h high-speed rail link. Around ten million people make use of the Eurostar high-speed train service per year to go under the Channel, while other people make use of the shuttle service for cars.

    Rail freight also goes through the said tunnel.

    Direct high-speed rail destinations on the continent from London already include Brussels, Paris, Calais, Marseille, and Lille with limited services to Amsterdam and possible future expansion into Germany.