Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, France’ transport minister, has urged the French government to help the international rail service – and has also urged the UK government to step up. The train company, which links London to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, is facing an impending financial disaster and is desperately seeking a huge financial boost to save itself.
Eurostar is 55 percent owned by the French state railway SNCF, 40 percent by infrastructure funds CDPQ and Hermes, and five percent by Belgian railway firm SNCB.
Furious Express.co.uk readers said British taxpayers should not be expected to cough up in the middle of the Covid crisis to save the Eurostar.
In comments, one wrote: “Not our job to find the money!”
A second said: “If the UK Government give aid in any way or form to Eurostar, then it will show all what a bunch of fools we have in Government…French owned, the French pay…simple.”
One particularly annoyed reader said given the manner in which Europe has treated the UK since the end of the Brexit transition period, Britons should not be expected to pour money into the train service.
The reader said: “Given the way the EU (and in particular France and Belgium) have behaved toward the UK since Jan 1, there is absolutely no reason why we should even consider using tax payers money to bail them out.
“They can save the £6billion from the extension down to Spain as an interim measure until the market picks up again.
“And, if it doesn’t – Tough – It’s not our problem.”
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Some Express.co.uk readers said the Eurostar crisis was a French problem and needed to be sorted by the French.
One said: “Well the French are at it again! Take something over, run it into the ground then expect former shareholders to dig them out of the hole THEY dug!”
Another pointed to the post-Brexit problems British fishermen have been having trying to export their catch to the continent.
The reader said: “The French are trying their hardest to make life difficult for the UK so why should we help them?
“They own Eurostar not the UK so it’s their problem not the UK’s.”
Last November it was reported that the Eurostar was “fighting for survival” after suffering massive financial losses due to the coronavirus crisis.
The public health crisis and lockdowns caused it to suffer a 95 percent loss in passenger numbers.
Last week Jean-Pierre Farandou, chief executive of SNCF, said the UK and the French governments were involved in “advanced discussions” for a rescue package.
He told the Financial Times: “We are getting closer to the moment when Eurostar will have real cash flow problems … by next month, we have to conclude these discussions.”
Many readers urged Boris Johnson to stand his ground against French pressure for a bailout.
One wrote: “Boris do not help out the Eurostar with even 1p.”