On 6 Might 1994, the Queen and France’s President Francois Mitterrand formally opened the Channel Tunnel throughout two elaborate ceremonies in France and Britain. Eurostar passenger operations started in November 1994.
Channel fog lifts for smiles on the finish of the tunnel
Rebecca Smithers, transport correspondent7 Might 1994

The Queen was yesterday whisked in her Rolls-Royce by way of the Channel tunnel in 32 minutes – three minutes lower than Eurotunnel had promised it will take her to get again to British soil from France.
Early within the day, fog had engulfed the British terminal at Folkestone, threatening to scupper an RAF fly-past over the location. However by the point the royal social gathering drove off the prepare at Folkestone, the clouds had cleared and the solar glinted on the rows of empty shuttle trains at adjoining platforms.For the primary time the well-known phrase symbolising British isolation – Fog In The Channel, Europe Lower Off – may now not apply.
However unbeknown to a lot of the hundreds of visitors, the Queen’s Rolls-Royce Phantom VI had been shipped out early within the morning to Calais. P&O, now confronted with dropping a bit of its most worthwhile ferry enterprise, had thoughtfully waived the £105 fare for the 17-year-old automotive and its driver.
The Queen made the return journey within the automotive accompanied by President Mitterrand in one of many hi-tech shuttle trains that may finally carry automobiles, coaches and caravans by way of the 31-mile tunnel. The Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Mitterrand had adopted within the prepare seated within the state Citroen as soon as utilized by President de Gaulle.
Earlier within the day, the Queen, Prince Philip and different visitors had travelled to Calais aboard a Eurostar prepare for the inaugural ceremony there for the £10.5 billion venture.
However most of her topics can be unable to make the identical journey till October on the earliest, when Eurotunnel expects to launch its delayed “flip up and go” fare-paying service.
After disembarking in Folkestone, President Mitterrand paid tribute to Britain’s function within the venture. He advised the Queen: “I’ve had a really comfy journey in a really comfy automotive, and it simply occurred to be yours, Ma’am.”
In her speech to inaugurate the Folkestone terminal, the Queen made veiled reference to the issues which have beset the tunnel. “Enterprises of this scale and scope have all the time shared a component of the unpredictable,” she stated.
Sir Alastair Morton, co-chairman of Eurotunnel, who has seen the final eight years of his life dominated by the venture, advised the Queen and the President: “In a 12 months or two the journey you will have each made can be an on a regular basis expertise for thousands and thousands of individuals. “However right now is exclusive and can be a treasured reminiscence.”
. . . in the meantime Rolls steals present from cramped Eurostar

French President Francois Mitterrand and Queen Elizabeth reduce the ribbon in the course of the official opening ceremony of the channel tunnel, 1994. {Photograph}: Tim Graham/Corbis through Getty Photographs
Editorial: a snipped ribbon, and a sea-change
6 Might 1994
British political life bristles with ephemeral wittering about Europe. Are we on the coronary heart of it? Can we go away it? Is it shifting in direction of us or we in direction of it? Most of those speculations are the thinnest of querulous fantasies. In contrast the Channel Tunnel is a tough, built-to-last, reality. And right now is day one among our future.
Nothing in historical past has formed the British greater than insularity. Residing on an island defines us. It offers us our sense of independence, our feeling of continuity, our consciousness distinction. However from right now – or no less than as soon as regular service is ultimately established – we’re now not an island. The Channel divided us. The tunnel unites us. If ever there was a turning level in nationwide psychology, then this absolutely is it.

With each British journey nearer to the guts of Europe, Europe will get nearer to the guts of the British: with inexorable and hopeful penalties for us all

It’s not shocking, due to this fact, that few will cheer wildly when the Queen and President Mitterrand snip the tape later right now. This isn’t a kind of self-conscious agate moments in historical past – the multi-racial South African election or the Arab-Israeli handshake, for instance. It isn’t a longed-for consummation. Life received’t change very a lot, very quickly in Britain, France or the additional corners of Europe. However a course of begins from which there may be no return. The constructing of the tunnel is an expression of confidence within the perpetuity of European peace which might not have been imagined by our ancestors. Or, to place it extra precisely, which was swiftly rejected by our ancestors once they did think about it.
Introduced with the draft of an earlier tunnel scheme, Lord Palmerston dismissed it on the grounds that “it will shorten a distance we already discover too brief”. There are nonetheless some who concern that the tunnel epitomises a basic and threatening erosion of distinction between the British and the nations of continental Europe. To such folks the tunnel is Maastricht set actually in concrete, undesirable, unneeded and foisted upon us. However that is absolutely a nonsensical conceit. The British will stay British. Rabies, potato blight and the IRA might do their worst – however don’t rely on it. If anybody has something to concern from the tunnel it’s in all probability the burghers of Calais, who’ve suffered lengthy sufficient from our nationwide dependancy to low cost drink with out having much more of us visited upon their historic however unlovely city.
The significance of the tunnel is each actual and metaphysical. It’s a means to an finish, or fairly to 2 ends; for us to get ourselves and our produce there, and for them and theirs to get right here. The implications for infrastructure will multiply irresistibly, reprimanding us for our preliminary dilatoriness. In time we will get the designated hyperlink to London and the refurbishment of rail traces to the north which must have been in place already right now. However in the meantime Europe will creep ever extra carefully in on our minds. This can be a two-way hyperlink. Paris for lunch for Londoners additionally means London for lunch for Parisians. And with each British journey nearer to the guts of Europe, Europe will get nearer to the guts of the British: with inexorable and hopeful penalties for us all.

Not an island
6 Might 1994
To have a good time Britain and France’s newly strengthened bonds, the Guardian and French nationwide day by day Libération produced a particular complement on 6 Might 1994. As a part of the cultural change, the Guardian in French was distributed with Libération and an English model appeared as a part of G2.

Click on to see bigger model.
In direction of a brand new kind of particular relationship
Jacques Amalric6 Might 1994
“If Britain’s voice is much less influential in Paris or Bonn, it’s prone to be much less influential in Washington.” These stern phrases, weren’t, as you would possibly anticipate, spoken by a French or German official searching for an argument to counter British Euro-sceptics. They got here from Raymond Seitz, outgoing Ambassador to the US in London, talking at The Pilgrims’ Society just lately. Having made the choice to make one thing of his ultimate speech, Seitz added: “Whereas Britain’s function within the European Union is indisputably complicating our relationship, additionally it is indispensable to the connection. . . America’s transatlantic coverage is European in scope. It’s not a collection of particular person or compartmentalised bilateral insurance policies and by no means has been. It’s the coverage of 1 continent to a different.” There are many French officers who may have hoped that ambassador Seitz’s phrases have been heard by the zealots of the Anglo-American “particular relationship”. On a very good day, that is thought of in France as a sign of the entire incompatibility of Nice Britain and the Continent and on a nasty day as proof constructive of a plot to sabotage any effort to construct a united Europe.
French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, who typically despairs in non-public of the dearth of Anglo-French understanding and hides his face each time the warfare of the tabloids begins up once more, could be significantly glad to listen to the phrases of Raymond Seitz. However solely in non-public: with a mentor like Georges Pompidou – whom orthodox Gaullists won’t ever forgive for letting Britain into the European Neighborhood – warning is his center identify. And that is simply as effectively. The squabbles on the coronary heart of the Conservative Occasion have led John Main to take a stand on the difficulty of the veto minority within the European Neighborhood and this might affirm France’s worst prejudices.

A Eurostar prepare at Waterloo Station, 2003.
{Photograph}: Scott Barbour/Getty Photographs
However the French and British governments have higher issues to do than speak in regards to the Fashoda Incident and Napoleon, (two world wars, for example) and thus get sidetracked by all the things that separates them right now: simply a kind of issues is the financial and social definition of a united Europe. And even when it isn’t well mannered to say it, Europe should bear main institutional modifications whether it is to strengthen the hyperlinks between a few of the member states similtaneously enlarging the neighborhood.

As soon as this has occurred, the Continent will nonetheless be made up of three “nice powers”: France, Britain and Germany. However maybe they’ll develop to understand – or maybe they already do – that their frequent aim must be the soundness and safety of the Continent. Then once more, maybe they’ll make the error of falling into the previous alliance sport, just like the one talked about by Margaret Thatcher in her memoirs – a proposal to Francois Mitterrand to try to cease future German unification.
There are specific causes for optimism. Mitterrand has not wavered from the trail of European union, regardless of being cautious of the velocity of the unification course of. And there are few individuals who would now say that he was flawed to refuse to compromise Franco-German reconciliation, with out which there would have been no Franco-British rapprochement. So far as we all know, the British have deserted the loopy thought of isolating Germany and making an attempt to disclaim her a seat on the Safety Council of the United Nations, so long as the Germans have pronounced a willingness to imagine their worldwide duties.
And never earlier than time: in these instances of world chaos, absolutely co-operation between the three powers on the coronary heart of the United Nations may solely be for the very best, and never solely in defence phrases. Regardless of all of the setbacks it has brought on, the disaster in former Yugoslavia is a living proof: Britain and France have co-operated within the space. After a great deal of trial and error – and plenty of contradictions, the governments of Paris, London and Bonn have arrived on the level the place they lastly agree on supporting the peace course of.
Jacques Amalric, diplomatic editor of Libération

Fabrice Rousselot interviews the prime ministers of Britain and France6 Might 1994

The Guardian, 6 Might 1994.