EU Border App Delayed, Risking Long Queues for UK Travellers

Eurostar services from the Netherlands to London will be suspended for six months from June next year.

Eurostar’s CEO has revealed that an app aimed at facilitating border checks for UK travellers crossing the Channel will not be ready in time for the European Union’s planned implementation of the Entry Exit System (EES) in October.

This delay raises concerns about potential long queues for UK travellers at EU border terminals.

Under the delayed EES scheme, non-EU citizens will be required to register fingerprints and a photo upon entry to the EU, replacing traditional passport stamping procedures. The app, developed by the EU, was intended to enable passengers to complete this registration process remotely, thereby reducing congestion and long queues at border terminals.

However, Eurostar’s CEO, Gwendoline Cazenave, told Business Matters that the app would not be ready in time for the EES rollout. Consequently, Eurostar is preparing for border checks to be conducted at stations, with plans underway to install more than 49 kiosks at St Pancras station to facilitate these checks.

Ms. Cazenave emphasized the importance of ensuring a smooth customer flow at stations and expressed hope that the EU would deploy the app soon, despite its delayed readiness.

The Port of Dover is anticipated to face significant queue problems due to limited space and the volume of vehicles it handles. Concerns have been raised about potential delays, prompting calls for further delays in implementing the EES IT system.

Meanwhile, Eurostar has witnessed a recovery in passenger numbers, with figures returning to pre-pandemic levels by the end of last year. Anticipating up to two million passengers during the Paris Olympics and Paralympics this summer, Eurostar has forged partnerships with various Olympic teams.

Despite challenges and higher ticket prices compared to air travel, Eurostar remains confident in its unique service, offering direct transportation to city centers without extra charges for luggage and seat reservations. Additionally, there is growing demand for sustainable travel options, further boosting Eurostar’s appeal.

Read more:
EU Border App Delayed, Risking Long Queues for UK Travellers