UK ‘in the dark’ about risk of queues from new EU border checks, government admits

The UK is in the dark about new post-Brexit biometric border checks threatening chaos for holidaymakers visiting the EU, the government has admitted.

Transport chiefs have raised the alarm over long queues when the entry/exit system (EES) – requiring data to be collected at the border for all non-EU arrivals – is introduced next year.

Quizzed by worried MPs, the Cabinet Office acknowledged it did not know how the checks will be implemented – as the number of cross-Channel tourists is expected to bounce back after Covid.

Asked what it would mean for car or coach passengers, Emma Churchill, the director general of the border delivery group, said the French government had yet to disclose its plans.

“So I can’t tell you exactly how the French intend to implement the entry and exit system,” she told the Commons public accounts committee.

The hope was that the checks could be brought in “without starting to cause those queues backing up”, Ms Churchill added.

Meg Hillier, the committee chair, called it “a big concern”, while a Conservative, Richard Holden, urged the government to work to avoid “disruption”.

“What’s really worrying me is you have got potential Covid checks and biometric passport checks will come in at some point,” he told a panel of Whitehall top civil servants.

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