From Brighton's local paper this morning -
THE French government has promised to secure the future of the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry with more funding, we can reveal.
At a crunch meeting in Dieppe which was attended by The Argus the French government stated it will continue to subsidise the line and the existing carrier has entered a bid for the new contract to carry tourists and freight between England and France for another four years.
A total of 20 million euros a year will continue to flow from French taxpayers to operators of the crossing, securing hundreds of jobs on both sides of the Channel, the Transmanche Users Group meeting was told.
Users and political leaders will also come together to launch a major marketing push aimed at encouraging tourism in the regions around the ports, under the banner “Bienvenue a Normandie-Sussex.”
President of the French Department of Seine-Maritime, Pascal Martin, told the meeting room overlooking Dieppe harbour that a new public tender would run for four years from this August and would replace the existing arrangement without a break in service.
M Martin told the meeting, which was conducted in French, “There’s more than a good ray of hope, we can assure our English friends that this will continue.
“The department has always repeated its desire to keep the line going.”
The future of the line had been in doubt following a ruling by a French court in January that the nature of the contract with Danish carrier DFDS - extended until 2017 just last December - ran contrary to competition legislation.
And for several years the line has been beset by concerns for its future, with discontent from French politicians about the scale of the public subsidy and legal challenges from Eurotunnel.
M Martin later told The Argus: “Regarding the public subsidy, it will remain the same for years to come.”