France to compensate Eurotunnel for migrant break-ins
PARIS, April 9, 2008 - The French government is to pay Eurotunnel 24million euros (38 million dollars) in compensation for break-ins by illegalimmigrants who used its rail link to cross from France and Britain, thecompany said Tuesday. The Channel tunnel operator had claimed damages of 53 million euros fromFrance for delays caused by migrants based at a Red Cross centre in Sangattein northern France between 2000 to 2002. It also challenged bills from the British authorities for the cost ofdetaining and returning illegal immigrants who arrived via the tunnel. A special arbitration court in The Hague ruled in favour of the companylast year. Eurotunnel chairman Jacques Gounon told a press conference the group hadreached a settlement with the French government for compensation of 24 millioneuros, with an accord to be signed shortly. It also said Britain had agreed to the principle of a settlement, withnegotiations to begin soon. The Sangatte centre was closed in 2002.