Franco-Swiss cold war breaks out over ski border car park

Franco-Swiss Cold war

This aerial photograph taken on January 26, 2021 shows the closed Swiss chairlift of Dappes with behind its drowned in snow parking located in France, near La Dole. Switzerland and France are in a snowball fight over a cross-border car park which serves Swiss ski slopes but has been closed by the French due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Battle of Dappes Car Park -- for the moment a rather cold war -- has been rumbling for a few weeks, triggered by the different Covid-19 rules on either side of an invisible line in a snow-covered field. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

GINGINS - Switzerland and France are in a snowball fight over a cross-border car park which serves Swiss ski slopes but has been closed by the French due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Battle of Dappes Car Park -- for the moment a rather cold war -- has been rumbling for weeks, triggered by the different COVID-19 rules on either side of an invisible line in a snow-covered field.

The 650-space car park sits in the valley between the pistes of La Dole on the Swiss side, and Les Tuffes in France. It is 250 metres inside French territory.

In the Jura mountains, the summit of La Dole overlooks Lake Geneva in the west of Switzerland -- a country which has kept ski slopes open despite the pandemic, while neighbouring France has closed theirs.

READ: Swiss admit blundering after COVID first wave

So the chair lifts for La Dole sit empty because nobody can use the shared car park in France.

"I cannot understand how the French authorities can decide that the Swiss cannot go skiing in their own country. This is a unilateral decision," fumed Gerard Produit, tourism chief in Switzerland's Nyon region.

"We are being held hostage by the politics of both countries," he told AFP, deploring the "legal imbroglio".

The prefecture of the Jura local authority in France told AFP the car park is "likely to encourage the gathering of more than six people in a public space in France, the mixing of groups, and therefore the circulation of the virus".

READ: France to ease lockdown as world ramps up vaccine preparations

Freudiger is fuming that the French authorities did not try to reach an agreement on access to the car park.

Rubbing salt into the wounds, the site was refurbished last year thanks to Swiss investment, as part of a project to create a cross-border ski destination.

Freudiger also voiced surprise that the car park is shut while car-pooling car parks for French inhabitants who work in Switzerland remain open.

According to Freudiger, the ski lifts have already lost 40 working days -- almost half the season -- and 300,000 Swiss francs (R5-million).

Source
AFP

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