NEWS: a meeting between the British and Spanish PMs apparently sparks new border queues in Gibraltar. Formula 1 might be at Hockenheim this weekend but racing trucks gather at the Nurburgring for the highlight of the season. The Bulgarian Black Sea coast returns to normal after yesterday’s flooding. The first map of the upcoming French Ecotaxe truck toll network is published, the EU will take Hungary to court over its new electronic truck toll system while the number of Continental ferry passengers continues to grow.
GIBRALTAR FRONTIER WATCH: no significant delays in or out until consistent 30-45mins mid-afternoon then estimated 2h50 at tea time, see below.
TOUR DE FRANCE WATCH: today Bourg-en-Bresse-St Etienne. Tomorrow, St Etienne-Chamrousse.
NEW GIBRALTAR QUEUE MISERY
The day after the respective Prime Ministers had words in Brussels…
After a quiet few weeks – to the point we considered discontinuing our Gibraltar Queue Watch counter, above – drivers leaving Gibraltar faced delays of up to three hours again yesterday.
It comes directly after British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke with his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy at the Brussels EU summit.
A statement from the UK Foreign Office today said, ‘Last night the Prime Minister also raised Gibraltar with Prime Minister Rajoy in the margins of the EU Council meeting. He made clear to Mr Rajoy that there must not be a repeat of last summer’s disruption.’
As local broadcaster @JamesNeish noted on Twitter last night, ‘Current frontier delay 2.5hrs as David Cameron “made clear” to Rajoy there must not be repeat of last summer’s disruption.’
Although perhaps personally embarrassing for Mr Cameron, the outbreak of delays following the discussion in Brussels do lend credence to the theory that the queues are politically motivated.
Also yesterday, the Spanish Ambassador to the UK was summoned to the Foreign Office in London over another alleged attempt by a Spanish naval vessel to interfere with shipping heading to the Port of Gibraltar. It apparently claimed the ships were in Spain’s territorial waters.
Last summer drivers waited up to eight hours in the worst cases to cross the Gibraltar border into Spain. Since then, and seemingly at random, drivers have faced delays of up to four hours.
A new twitter account has been opened by the Gibraltar Border Agency to keep drivers (bikers and pedestrians) informed of queues on both sides of the frontier. See @GibraltarBorder.
UPDATE Saturday 19 July: delays reached five hours on Friday teatime before subsiding in the evening, and 1h55 on Saturday night after a relatively quiet day. See our Daily Brief blogs for more.
roundup: FRANCE. A map of the upcoming Ecotaxe truck toll network has been published by HGV fueller AS24. The roads included could change but will be vastly cut-down from the original proposal withdrawn earlier this year after the widespread ‘Bonnet Rouges’ protests. Note, so far it does include the A16 Boulogne-Belgium and the A25 Dunkirk-Lille. HUNGARY. The European Commission has issued infringement proceedings against Hungary over its new electronic truck tolls system according to widespread reports. After a controversial failed initial procurement against a tight deadline the system was hastily revived and started as planned on 1 July 2013. However, the new tender did not follow EU rules, it is alleged. For more info on the tolls see hu-go.hu. FERRIES. Continental ferry routes carried 7.9m passengers in the first half of 2014, up 2.1% on the same period in 2013 according to new figures from industry body Discover Ferries. Overall, the market grew by 2.6% last year.