Parisian Train Station Prepares for Brexit
British politics are having an effect on transportation in the continent, with Paris' Gare du Nord train station planning a huge redesign as a result of Brexit.
These plans were revealed by the Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF, France's national railway company), and would make the station three times larger in order to accommodate possible lengthier customs procedures.
However, the SNCF also noted that the redeveloped station would be able to handle larger crowds in general, and is thus scheduled to be completed before the French capital hosts the Olympic Games in 2024. It will cause a major change to the surrounding neighborhoods of Paris, as well.
The people of the United Kingdom voted to withdraw from the European Union (nicknamed "Brexit") in June 2016; the deal is currently scheduled to be completed in late March 2019. Having passed with a slim majority, it remains controversial, with many in the elite and government favoring the EU.
This could have an effect on the ease with which Britons are able to travel through EU countries. According to the standing Treaty of Le Touquet, passports can be checked as people board the trains between the two countries, allowing them to leave immediately when they arrive at their destination; that could change with Brexit, as negotiations for the post-Brexit rules remain in the air.
The possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the customs union could create even more complications, while the EU is also toying with the idea that U.K. residents would need to pay a fee ahead of time in order to apply for permission to travel.
Gare du Nord is not the only European hub that is going through such issues; other airports and seaports that receive large amounts of U.K. travelers are working on similar overhauls. For example, the Netherlands is currently hiring 750 new custom officials and also investing in the Rotterdam port and Schiphol airport. Meanwhile, Britain itself is slowly working on how to change their own services.
Gareth Thomas, a Labour MP who is part of the anti-Brexit Best For Britain campaign, says that the country does not have the money for such changes and that a new vote should be held about possibly staying in the EU.
For now, however, things are simply uncertain, as the U.K. prepares for the big change works on a possible deal that could ameliorate these issues.
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