The idea of connecting the British Isles with the mainland first came to the mind of French geologist Nicolas Desmarest. He submitted his project to Napoleon but nothing came out of it. The problem was revisited several times but stopped at the issue of national security. It was not until the mid-1980s that the United Kingdom and France reached an agreement and began construction. On May 6 1994 the tunnel was commissioned. Although it is not quite accurate to say “tunnel”: curiously, there are actually three tunnels with two rail lines running alongside a central service tunnel. The first overland link between the continent and the islands since the Ice Age was opened to the sounds of the national anthems by the Heads of State – Queen Elizabeth II and President François Mitterrand. “Europe was finally annexed by England,” as jokers reacted to the ceremony.
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