Paris-Eurotunnel, operator of the Channel Tunnel, admitted on Thursday that a cash crisis is imminent, and that it had less than four months to come up with a workable financial plan to deal with its mountain of debt-or its Creditors will fill-in the tunnel.
"We haven't got a prayer if October rolls around and we still haven't come up with a plan," said the Spokesperson for Eurotunnel. "I don't know how the tunnel can be filled so quickly, and indeed, it doesn't really make any sense to me. I'm trying to catch up on all my expense reports, I will tell you that."
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, commented on the Channel Tunnel situation outside of his office at 11 Downing street. "The filling-in of the Channel Tunnel is part of the protocol of the Fixed Link' Treaty signed by Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Mitterand back in 1987. This is a typical Tory agreement from that era-Labor had nothing to do with it. Absolutely nothing. And I'd like to remind the British People that most of the shareholders in the Channel Tunnel are French, after all." Mr. Brown then hurried off to his personal debt counselor meeting.
Jacques deGarni, Chairman of Eurotunnel, was asked to explain the root cause of the debt. "The reality of the situation is that this extra debt was caused by cost overruns during the construction. On the first attempt, we missed. OK? I feely admit it. The tunnels from the English side and French side didn't meet up-not even close. We had to start all over again. This has not been common knowledge, but I'm afraid the truth will out. The other thing that is kind of funny, now that I think about it, is that after the first tunnels missed, both ends started over again. Only later did we realize that we only really needed to do it on one side.
"And the threat of our creditors to fill-in the tunnel is real. It's a punitive measure that was put in the Fixed Link treaty at the behest of Mr. Mitterand, and Mrs. Thatcher reluctantly agreed. The worst thing that could happen is that we would come up with a financial plan after the tunnel gets filled-in. We'd have to dig the tunnel all over again! I assure you know one wants to do that."
"The Government has every intention of seeing to it that the Channel Tunnel's financial difficulties are resolved without the tunnel being filled-in," said Gustav Moisi, the Labor Minister in Mr. Chirac's new government. "While it is true that we could substantially lower the unemployment rate in France, by first filling the tunnel in, and then later digging it out again by hand, we see no need at this point to resort to those measures."