Eurostar chief warns of delay to new EU entry system app

An app designed to alleviate disruption for British travellers going across the Channel will not be ready in time for a new EU border scheme, the boss of Eurostar has warned.

Under the much-delayed Entry/Exit System (EES), non-EU citizens will need to register fingerprints and a photo at the border from October.

It was hoped the app developed by the EU could allow passengers to do this remotely, and prevent long queues for UK travellers.

But Eurostar boss Gwendoline Cazenave told the BBC that the rail firm was preparing for the checks to happen at stations as the app will not be ready in time.

EES will replace passport stamping in a bid to give more oversight of who is entering and leaving the EU.

But there have been repeated warnings that the extra time taken for people to complete their initial registration will cause long queues at the Port of Dover, Eurostar and Eurotunnel terminals.

French border police carry out checks at these sites as people depart the UK.

Cazenave said Eurostar had begun installing more than 49 kiosks at London St Pancras in preparation for the change to EES this autumn.

“It’s all about preparing the customer flow in the station, and to have as many staff as possible, as [much] space for the customers to cross the border in a seamless way,” she said.

The Eurostar chief executive said the app would make things smoother, and while the EU had said it would launch EES without it, “we’re sure they will deploy it soon”.

She was speaking as the high speed Channel Tunnel train service revealed that more than 415,000 tickets had been sold across its network so far across five countries for the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.

Up to eight more services will run between London and the French capital on peak Olympic days compared to the current timetable, with extra staff deployed at stations to support passengers.

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