British passports made in France

Many Brexit supporters had been looking forward to the new British passports - no longer bordeaux-coloured, but blue. Now it turns out that the new identification documents are to be produced in France by the French-Dutch company Gemalto, and not, as was the case in the past, by a British company. Welcome news for the press.

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Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Irony of fate

A highly symbolic production decision, Corriere della Sera comments mockingly:

“It was to be a milestone of the Brexit: the return to the traditional dark blue British passport instead of the despised bordeaux-coloured EU passport. A gesture of 'independence and sovereignty', as Theresa May liked to stress. But now - oh irony of fate - we discover that the 'Brexit passport - is to be made in France. ... Although many Brexiteers try to see the exit from the EU in a global British light, for just as many others it's a call to 'pull up the drawbridges', a deglobalisation rebellion, the desire for an England and a world that no longer exist. In this respect the blue passport made in France seems like the right counterweight to remind us of the indissolubility of modern ties. Parbleu!”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

An unpatriotic decision

The contract should have gone to a British firm even if it cost more, The Daily Telegraph complains:

“There has often been a tension in conservatism between the balance sheet and national pride, and given the significance of the passport to the Brexit debate, this might be one case where patriotism should win out. We all know what France would do: it has a legal monopoly on the production of its identity documents. It's ironic that France has always regarded itself as being at the centre of the EU while cheerfully breaking either its rules or the spirit of open European competition, while Britain, which has complained mightily of EU meddling since joining the Common Market, has slavishly done as it was told.”

New Statesman (GB) /

Brexit fans' annoying double standards

The opponents of the EU don't have any problem with the sale of state interests in other cases, so why all the fuss now? the New Statesman asks:

“Pro-market Conservatives such as [ex-minister Priti] Patel are content for European state firms to own UK rail franchises (while denying the same right to the British state) and provide the country's energy. … There are two coherent and consistent positions. One is to argue that, in accordance with market rule, the contract should go to the cheapest bidder. The other is to maintain that essential national infrastructure should be the preserve of the state. But the Leave position, alternately libertarian and protectionist, shows the ideological confusion that Brexit has wrought on the Conservative Party.”