Gibraltar: Return of the Fearsome Border Queue

Today is the final switchover day for winter tyres in Finland. More controversial revelations about the German ‘foreigner vignette’. Another meeting on re-establishing the UK-Scandinavia ferry link. Border delays in Gibraltar reach five hours.

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Air Drive: the magic of Photoshop allows French photographer Renaud Marion to realise boyhood dreams of flying cars. The series of fourteen pictures – all using classic cars from the 50s and 60s – were taken in and around Geneva. See renaudmarion.com for more.

Air Drive: the magic of Photoshop allows French photographer Renaud Marion to realise boyhood dreams of flying cars. His series of fourteen pictures – all using classic cars from the 50s and 60s – were taken in and around Geneva. The images were first published last year but have just gone on display at the MB&F Gallery in Geneva. Prices range from 2200-7900CHF. See renaudmarion.com for more, or mbandf.com

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Today is the deadline for fitting winter tyres in Finland. It is one of the few European countries where winter tyres are mandatory whatever the weather conditions (apart from vehicles 3.5t+). Most countries which have rules on winter tyres, at least in Western Europe, say they only need to be fitted in wintery conditionsGerman drivers will not be insulated from future increases in the ‘foreigner toll’ it emerged today (via thelocal.de). Domestic car taxes will be reduced to fully compensate for the charge, at least initially, but in order to satisfy EU demands not to discriminate against foreign drivers – i.e. by keeping the two charges completely separate – future increases in the price of the vignette cannot be linked to further reductions in car tax. In our humble analysis this is no deal breaker even though the price will surely have to rise, and probably quite soon. Meanwhile, the European Commission continues to tell MEPs it cannot take an official view on the proposals – or make any comment – despite a series of meeting with German officials, and public statements which say the new law is ‘moving in the right direction’. It also emerged last week that police could be allowed to confiscate cars if they feel there is no realistic prospect of recovering the mooted €260 fine. The final draft vignette law is being considered by ministers on 17 December before heading into the German parliament… the International Campaign for the Ferry to Norway (ICFN) met with Norwegian Seaways (NSL) on Friday to discuss the latest the developments in plans to re-establish the ferry link between the UK and Scandinavia. There’s no specific progress to note though a report on ICFN’s website says, ‘It might seem like a mill pond on the surface in this phase of the project but underneath NSL is paddling like hell.’ The meeting instead concentrated on the nature of the service itself, and the need for a ‘Quality Sailing Experience’. ICFN continues, ‘The ferry to Norway would not be sustainable without a change in passenger experience and that such a change could only be brought about by creating what was termed a ‘Quality Sailing Experience’ for its domestic passengers, coupled with a reliable and cost effective service for commercial users.’ The relationship between ICFN and NSL is not clear – the former has so far not answered our questions about who they are – while the two have apparently signed a ‘non-disclosure agreement’. The next meeting is scheduled for the end of January… On a couple of occasions over the past few weeks, at seemingly random times, border delays in Gibraltar have threatened to top two hours following a relatively quiet summer. This evening’s queues of five hours however haven’t been seen since June 2013. It’s a worrying recent trend. Just a few weeks ago we crossed the border without any delays at all.

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