French govt vow to ‘resume UK movement’ with protocol announced ‘in hours’

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The French Government has said that “in the next few hours” it will establish a “protocol to ensure that movement from the UK can resume”.

The Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover were closed on Sunday over fears of the new mutant strain of coronavirus which is spreading across the south of England moving across the continent.

The border closure has prompted police in Kent to activate Operation Stack on the coastbound carriageway of the M20 early on Monday – leaving freight lorries queueing for miles.

Industry experts have also warned it could cause potential serious disruption to the country's Christmas fresh food supply.

But French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Monday that a protocol would be adopted at a European Union-wide level "to ensure that movement from the UK can resume".

The UK has been cut off from large parts of Europe – and some other areas of the world – as authorities imposed bans on passengers because of concern about the more infectious mutant coronavirus.

The most dramatic intervention came from France, which put in place a ban on hauliers crossing the English Channel with their cargo.

Mr Djebbari said: "In the next few hours, at European level, we're going to establish a solid health protocol to ensure that movement from the UK can resume.

"Our priority: to protect our nationals and our fellow citizens."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has appeared on various news outlets on Monday to say his French counterpart Jean-Baptiste Djebbari is "anxious" to get the situation resolved.

"He's very, very anxious to get this resolved," he said.

He added: "Not least actually because it is a lot of French and European lorry drivers who are the ones who are stuck as they sell us more stuff than we sell to them.

"I'm sure there'll be some resolutions there."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a COBRA meeting at some point on Monday following France's extraordinary announcement on Sunday.

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  • Coronavirus

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