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EU attempts to calm border row between Gibraltar and Spain

PUBLISHED: November 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm  •  LAST EDITED: December 31, 2012 at 7:41 am
Andalucia, Gibraltar  •  29 Comments


EU attempts to calm border row between Gibraltar and Spain

• EU officials have stepped in after expressing ‘concern’ over the delays


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THE European Commission (EC) has offered to act as a mediator in the row over delays at the border between Gibraltar and Spain.

Officials in Brussels have been forced to step in after expressing ‘concern’ over the delays and acknowledging the ‘clear inconvenience’ they are causing.

It comes after Gibraltar’s Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia presented a dossier of information proving the delays were caused by Spanish customs officials.

The evidence included statistical data showing average queuing times and maximum queuing times over the last year, as well as photographs and maps of the area.

“The government is ready to produce further evidence by placing the queue online on a dedicated website,” said Garcia.

“This will happen shortly, and the website address will be publicised as soon as it is ready to go live.

“The Commission has recognised the reality that a problem exists at an EU border.

“This affects the right of EU nationals to freedom of movement.”

However, according to Europa Press, a Commission source claimed the EC had no proof that the Spanish government is being excessive in the application of its customs controls.

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Reader Comments »



Fred

November 28th, 2012 3:38 pm

Will I beat Bruji to the first “close the fence” comment?

Mitch Hawkins

November 28th, 2012 5:37 pm

Come on Gib. Why not close the border for ‘various’ reasons. Keep the Spanish from coming in to work – lose a days pay here and there… that will soon put the pressure on…..!!

Bill Payer

November 28th, 2012 8:42 pm

Gibraltar does not close the frontier or mess around with it because we are neither children or fascists.

roberto

November 28th, 2012 10:27 pm

Spanish people are not facists nor are we children.
But one thing i know is true is that Gibraltar has to be de colonised and thats coming from the United Nations plus Britain stole spanish land from Spain to build the airport a reply to me would be very interesting if you can back up the British Childish behaviour.
Kind Regards
BOB

MillyWhiffer

November 29th, 2012 8:50 am

Bob, the land wasn’t stolen by Gibraltar or the UK, it was given by Spanish Government or Mayor of La Linea, the problems with the airport are La Linea has no money to pay for the work that was to be done to open up an entrance to the airport from the Spanish side.

What this has to do with the border queue, however, is beyond me, I travel across the border everyday, the only delays I see (aside from the normal rush hour queues of a morning) come from the Spanish side when leaving, making people wait up to 6 hours whilst they play their little stop and search games is an oppressive action to every person in that queue, whether they are Spanish, Gibraltarian, British, Polish, German….etc etc

MillyWhiffer

November 29th, 2012 8:56 am

And while we’re at it Bob, this contradicts your statement that Spanish people aren’t facsists. Whilst I do not think this represents every Spanish person, it is still worth pointing out so you’ll at least do some research of your own before posting comments!

From the news on this website only 2 days ago!

“http://tinyurl.com/cg9xey9″

J. Roberts

November 29th, 2012 11:01 am

Decolonisation of Gibraltar does not mean a transfer to Spain. The UN has never said that.

Spain is blocking Gibraltar’s removal from the list of Non Self Governing Territories because of its claim. The UN want the UK and Spain to negotiate so that Gibraltar can be released from the UN C24 list. That is what the UN means re decolonisation. Not a transfer of sovereignty to Spain.

J. Roberts

November 29th, 2012 11:05 am

The land the airport was built on was never stolen from Spain. This is just another myth cooked up by Fernando Castiella during Franco’s time. It has no basis in fact.

ad

November 29th, 2012 8:08 pm

Simply read “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Utrecht”
it was granted to Great Britain… period !

John Simpson

November 30th, 2012 8:37 am

Aside of the argument over ownership, which seem to go on forever and needs a negotiated agreement – once the negotiators have been chosen! – the appearance of much of Gibraltar is dreadful. I have visited the town several times over the last 20 years whilst holidaying on the CDS. Last week my wife and I ventured by foot from Main Street upwards via the back streets and steps to the ‘castle’. The buildings en route would not have looked amiss in a war torn eastern Europe. Dog mess is everywhere, worse than on the CDS and that’s saying something. Tourists are getting wise that prices are not lower than in the UK or on the CDS. The variety is not there either. In fact it seems quite clear that many of the shops in Main Street have fixed prices between them prompting the suspicion some have different names over the doors but the same owners. Gibraltar needs a lick of paint – in the right places – and when the biggest tourist attraction is getting to be Morrisons something needs to be done relatively soon. We won’t be re-visiting in the foreseeable future. Call me unwelcome now if you like but there are a growing number who find Gibraltar depressing and claustrophobic, not worth the hassle of entering for whatever reason.
The free world does need your existence and I guess I am happy to continue to pay taxes in the UK to protect that, if it is the case.
Good luck with it all

ASCTEG -Spanish Workers in Gibraltar-

November 30th, 2012 2:55 pm

Please re-adapt your comments to the above news in question, which is the border problems, because when you consider the daily damage it does to normal people, children, old, sick, etc, we can called this actions that forms the queues as shameful, irregular, illegal, unnecessary, bad intended, insane, crazy, criminal, dishonest, of evil spirit, of fascist minded creation… etc… And have in mind, that queues are here just because there is political eagerness and tension. Tension which as a matter of fact is not caused by Gibraltarians, La Linea, nor Campo Area noble citizen, this is caused by some politician and crazy nazy minded people who among all, the only thing they want is to continue fighting for a small plot of land unnecessarily but because they become notorious by it and are giving better political places from wher to continue their bad actions and good leaving for ever and ever, amen.
One: Because there is no way (and WAR being out of question, but even if this crazy event did happened..), that Gibraltar, nor the LLanitos would ever be Spanish, nor by recognition neither by capture, least by acceptation, so what is our Spanish Government going to do with the Gibraltarians if there was an unlikely event of conquering Gibraltar (even this my writing sounds childish and stupid in year 2013…)
Two: Spain has enough problems with the highest level of unemployment and our population ready to explode, which as a matter of fact could happen any time, due to the situation which for most families (excluding those politicians, their families, or those well paid) is unsustainable and reaching misery limits. (REASON 2 for us considering the Spanish attitudes against Gibraltar as a smoked screen to blur reality as other invented causes in our Press Media everyday). For a star at this very momment the TV is announcing that next year pensions will increase up to 2 pc to the under 1000 €, when a pensioner is lossing more that 14% already as consequence of other cuts.
Three: In the never, ever expected event that Spain would conquer Gibraltar, How is Spain going to maintain so many thousands jobs in Gibraltar, Including the thousands of jobs of Spanish Workers in Gibraltar? if Campo Area economical shape is in such a deplorable state, La Linea itself has the highest youth unemployment of Europe. La Linea has 11 thousand registered unemployed and maybe doubled that who are not working but are willing to do so. Our La Linea City Hall is in heavy debt for years and years, a city of beggars as everyone is begging for something, unpaid salaries, lots and lots go to Charity for food, clothes, electricity, water, garbage, medicaments, and IBI bills unpaid. Even associations dedicated to help others are begging constantly the government social helps that they never get.
Four: This is all stupid, so returning to the comments concern: Europe cannot say now that they do not have proof that our Spanish Government is being excessive on queue making… Where are then so many claims sent to them by our organization ASCTEG? Why the hell they have never sent here some inspector to take note of our everyday suffering 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hours queues…? Is Europe also a political club of friends, an organization that close the eyes on abused people’s and calamity when there is political party affinity…?

James Jeffries

December 2nd, 2012 10:59 pm

If Spain really wanted to help their citizens and really cause a bit of a stink in Gibraltar (with long term benefits for both sides) they should open up the border and set up various legal/planning reassurances to do up La Linea to crash Gibraltar property prices and do wonders for the whole area.

Jim

December 3rd, 2012 12:07 pm

FRED IS AN INTERNET TROLL

John Simpson

December 3rd, 2012 3:04 pm

Jim is less interesting than Fred and shouts in upper case

J. A. Roberts

December 3rd, 2012 4:53 pm

Yup, and Jim shouts exactly the same thing in the comments of more than one story. Only a troll would do something like that…

Neb

December 6th, 2012 12:17 pm

Until Gibraltar finds another way to make a living besides being a slightly shabby duty-free shop that exists outside Schengen, Spain has not only the right, but the *obligation*, as a Schengen area state, to protect her border with Gibraltar against smuggling and illegal activity.

J. A. Roberts

December 6th, 2012 1:30 pm

Neb, you are just demonstrating your ignorance. It has nothing to do with Schengen, and everything to do with not being in the customs union. Ceuta, Melilla and the Canaries are also outside the customs union, but do people getting off the ferry from Ceuta at Algeciras get treated anything like those crossing the frontier from Gibraltar? Definitely not! There is a fair amount of smuggling of duty free goods from Ceuta into Spain, but you never hear about that “problem” in the Spanish press…

The sooner Spain gets over its hypocritical and schitzophrenic attitude towards Gibraltar, the better for everyone.

John Simpson

December 6th, 2012 4:50 pm

J. A. Roberts

December 6th, 2012 8:44 pm

John Simpson is right. The tobacco smuggling which happens between Gibraltar and Spain really is very small beer. Fast launches have been banned in British Gibraltar waters since the mid 1990s, so it’s an open secret the smuggling of hard stuff from north Africa into Europe has shifted and now goes mostly by fast launch onto the beaches up and down the Costa del La Luz, especially around Chipiona and even up the Guadalquivir river. Just the other day a Guardia Civil nearly got lynched near Bonanza by a group of people including women and children. Everyone is in on it and this could explain the surprising number of flash cars in Sanlucar.

J. A. Roberts

December 6th, 2012 8:52 pm

“http://www.diariodecadiz.es/article/provincia/1409932/vecinos/sanlucar/se/llevan/alijo/tras/atacar/aduaneros.html”

Zoeb Manji

December 7th, 2012 1:20 pm

I don’t think the authorities of either country can be doing with the petty stupidities of the local authorities on both side of the border. They need to grow up and stop being children.

J. A. Roberts

December 7th, 2012 1:49 pm

@ Zoeb Manji. All the problems would just go away if Spain dropped it’s silly claim. Are there problems like this at the frontiers with France, Portugal and Andorra?

Neb

December 7th, 2012 5:50 pm

Canaries/Ceuta/Melilla are different as even though they are outside the customs union, it is not an international frontier, so Spain has no obligation to patrol it in the same manner. That Gibraltar is outside Schengen does mean that Spain is obliged to ensure full border checks are carried out, just as Spain has to do on the Moroccan border, and France has to do with the UK. You can’t compare it with the Franco-Spanish or Spanish-Portugese borders.

Yes, I agree there is a political element to the queues at Gibraltar, but that doesn’t mean Gibraltarians should expect the border between them and Spain to get the same treatment as a full schengen and customs union border would get, unless they are willing to find an economic niche beyond cheap cigarettes, booze and gambling.

Whilst I support Gibraltar’s right to self-determination, I can’t help thinking that they are using the self-det. argument to avoid having to confront some awkward realities about the territory – both economic and political.

The naval base of the cold-war era isn’t going to come back, and the pressures of the EU on Gibraltar to clean up it’s quasi tax-haven status is only going to increase. Current crisis aside, in the longer term Spain is going to be an increasingly powerful voice in the EU, whilst the future role of the UK in the EU is uncertain at best. Gibraltar needs to confront this and begin serious reform so that she can build a solid working relationship with Spain and the wider EU, regardless of what goes on in London.

J. A. Roberts

December 7th, 2012 10:56 pm

@Neb You are conflating immigration controls with customs controls. Schengen is irrelevant to duty-free goods as Schengen is only about immigration controls, the movement of people, not goods. The queues coming out of Gibraltar are never caused by the immigration controls, but always by the customs controls. Exactly the same customs controls which MUST be applied to goods entering mainland Spain from Ceuta/Mellila/Canarias so in that respect Gibraltar is EXACTLY the same as Ceuta/Mellila/Canarias, yet the differences in treatment by Spain are glaring.

What awkward economic realities does Gibraltar face? As for Gibraltar being a “quasi tax-haven”, what do you base that opinion on? Heresay? If Gibraltar is a quasi tax-haven, well then so is Spain! Gibraltar has cleaned up its act, and continues to improve. How on earth is Gibraltar supposed to build a “solid working relationship” with Spain, when Spain goes out of its way to undermine Gibraltar at every turn, refusing to deal directly with Gibraltar? As for the rest of the EU, Gibraltar has few problems in that department, the working relationship is sound.

Maria

September 5th, 2013 7:51 pm

Milly, I am sorry but you are so wrong in your comments it is ridiculous. First of all, no mayor can just give land away. Second, this land was never part of the initial treaty, this is land that the British just took from the Spanish while we were in the middle of a civil war. Spain should stop letting Britains spoiled child get away with everything and start pulling boulders from the waters otherwise Gibraltar will build until Spain has no coastline.

John Simpson

September 6th, 2013 1:01 am

Maria if Spain had the extra coastline they would only overbuild it or put concrete barriers next to it!
One solution I thought of which could substantially reduce the smuggling of cigarettes into Spain – and most of the aggro – put the prices up to Spanish prices. Simples!

What woot

September 6th, 2013 1:06 am

You are replying to a one year old post.
This one wasnt about the rocks they deployed in 2013.
It was about something else trivial

Anselmo

September 6th, 2013 1:16 pm

John Simpson:

1º) to fill in sea water is a crime.

2º) Snuff prices in Spain are high because France asked It to the Spanish Government, precisely to prevent the French citizens from crossing our border to buy snuff

John Simpson

September 6th, 2013 4:10 pm

Errrr what?
Snuff isn’t the same and the Spanish are filling in more sea water with Spanish blocks so that’s OK, and in many places with sewage!




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