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   The European Commission warmly welcomes the decision of the
   British and French governments, as annouced in Lille today by
   President Mitterrand and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, to
   give the go-ahead to the construction of a tunnel beneath the
   Channel.  We believe that it will encourage trade within the
   Community and will stimulate employment in the short and in the
   longer term.  It will also benefit the internal market and will
   strengthen the Community's technological capacity.
   Speaking on behalf of the Commission, Mr Stanley Clinton
   Davis, Member of the Commission responsible for transport
   policy, said that the effects of the decision would be profound.
   The new link will have an impact far beyond the frontiers of
   the two member states directly involved, presenting new
   opportunities and also new challenges which must be faced by the
   Community as a whole".
   The Commission has long supported the construction of a
   fixed link.  Its commitment to the project was indicated by its
   involvement in the 1979 study on the implications of a fixed link
   for the Community and its support for the banking group study
   into the financing possibilities for a new project, which
   published its findings in 1984.
   Now that the decision has been taken, the Commission will be
   discussing its implications for the Community's transport
   network with member states under the existing consultation
     While difficulties may arise for certain sectors of employment
   and for some regions, the overall effect on jobs will be
   positive.  Ways must be found for easing the social and economic
   transition when difficulties do appear.
   Impact on the environement should be taken into account from
   the start.
   "It is no good building the link now and worrying about the
   environmental consequences later", said Mr. Clnton Davis.
   "Consequently there must be no secrecy about any adverse effect,
   particularly environmental.  Only in providing all relevant
   information can constructive measures be taken to allay any
   fears.  The Commission is encouraged that the original
   invitations to submit proposals for the link included an
   obligation to examine the environmental effects of the project
   and notes the importance given to the environment in the
   communique of the two governments.
   "Today's decision must be seen against the wider Community
   backcloth.  The project will change the economic geography of
   Europe; we must see to it that it works in the interests of the
peoples of Europe", Mr.Clinton Davis concluded.

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