07th September 2009
Stop the Blockades; The French Government Must do More.
Ashley Fox MEP, has lent his support to a petition from the Federation of Small Business protesting against the frequent blockades of the Channel ports by French Fisherman. French trade unions frequently seek to stop cross-channel traffic, which imposes huge costs on hauliers, as well as causing chaos for thousands of tourists.
The four day stoppage caused by French fishermen in April is estimated to have cost the average British haulier around £800. The blockages force the police to arrange for lines of lorries to park up on the M20 to Dover -- an operation known as "The Stack", which turns large parts of the motorway into a car-park, resulting in massive congestion and tailbacks.
The petition, which also calls for £6 million compensation from the French government, demands that the Commission put pressure on the French government to ensure that traffic moves freely, in line with the fundamental principle of free movement of goods and people in the EU.
South West MEP Ashley Fox, commented "It is scandalous that the French government is ignoring its obligations in this way and British hauliers are paying the price. Lorries may be stacked up in Kent, but the costs are felt across the country and here in the South West. It cannot be one rule for us and another for the French. Their Government has to do more to control these frequent disruptions to free trade".