Anglo-French relations suffered another setback today as Eurotunnel blasted the latest decision by the UK competition watchdog to stop its ferry services.
The Competition and Markets Authority has ordered cross-Channel rail operator to shut or sell its ferry business, MyFerryLink, within six months and to ban the two ferries Berlioz and Rodin from the port of Dover for 10years.
Jacques Gounon, chairman and chief executive of Eurotunnel said: "The decision by the CMA is a denial of the reality of the situation. It penalises the consumer and puts 600 people out of work without any justification."
But Alasdair Smith, who chaired the inquiry, said: "With two of the operators on the Dover-Calais route making substantial losses, it remains our view that the current level of competition on the route is unsustainable.
"That will leave Eurotunnel, which is funding MyFerryLink’s current losses, as one of only two ferry operators in addition to owning the competing rail link. Eurotunnel’s purchase of the ferries means it now has more than half the market and its share will rise further if competitors exit."
Eurotunnel said that the UK watchdog had come to the opposite decision of that made by its French counterpart and accused it of refusing to go to the European Commission “to resolve this crisis”.
MyFerryLink was created in 2011 when Eurotunnel bought three ships from the bust Sea France. It said the market had changed dramatically "in terms of growth and competition" since then.