The operator of Channel Tunnel, Eurotunnel, wants €9.7m (£6.8m) in compensation from British and French authorities, as it has racked up a €13m security bill due to damage caused by the ongoing migrant crisis.
The escalating number of migrants coming from the Mediterranean, looking to enter the UK through Calais, has sent security costs up while simultaneously driving business away.
Chief executive Jacques Gounon said during a press conference that French authorities were not doing enough:
Public authorities underestimate the migrant situation… There are not enough policy on the ground. Our job is to be a transport company, not to do a police job.
The company said it had spent €13m protecting the tunnel during the first half of 2015, equal to what it spent across the whole of 2014.
While the UK government has already said it will assist with €4.7m to help cover Eurotunnel’s losses, the company has made a request to the Intergovernmental Commission, which acts on behalf of the British and French governments, for a further €9.7m to cover the rest.
In a statement, the company said:
If this situation continues, or even intensifies, during the second half of the year without the French and British authorities taking the necessary measures incumbent upon them, it could affect the group’s traffic and expenditure for the 2015 financial year.
The UK government last week increased their estimate of the number of migrants in Calais from 3,000 to near 5,000. Many are living in camps around Calais, making attempts to board vehicles heading to Britain, where they hope claim asylum.
The problems have been exacerbated by ferry workers’ strike, which has blocked traffic around Calais.