Good luck with the begging bowl, Eurotunnel


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The Independent Online

Is Eurotunnel justified in handing the UK and French governments an invoice for €10m (£7m) to cover the cost of extra security upgrades in the wake of the Calais migration crisis?

The Channel Tunnel rail link operator made the demand as it revealed that it had turned a first-half pre-tax loss of €5m last year into a €39m profit. It would have been more, but for the €13m it spent on beefing up security, about the same as it spent in the whole of 2014.

The UK government has agreed to kick €4.7m its way but its chief executive, Jacques Gounon, wants the Intergovernmental Commission, the joint French and British body which oversees safety and security aspects of the tunnel, to dig into its pockets for a further €9.7m.

Good luck with that. There is a temptation to tell him to stop moaning and get on with it – as holiday companies have to when they bring people home because of problems in the places they fly them to.

All the same, the issues are long-standing. Both governments have indulged in bouts of blaming each other, or of underplaying the seriousness of them when they are the result of policy failures on both sides. So Mr Gounon has a point. But it probably doesn’t help that he’s making plenty of money in spite of them.