Gibraltar border checks legal, says European Commission

LAST UPDATED: 15 Nov, 2013 @ 16:38
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Gibraltar border checks legal, says European Commission

CHECKS at the Spain-Gibraltar border are legal, according to a new ruling by the European Commission (EC).

The EC has been dragged into the long-running dispute between the countries after Spain introduced increasingly draconian checks on vehicles.

The widespread travel disruption caused by vehicle searches led to a diplomatic standoff, with the UK requesting an EC investigation.

But the EC has ruled the checks are within EU law.

The Gibraltar Government questioned the ruling, saying “This finding flies in the face of the reality being experienced by commuters and travelers and will serve only to encourage the sort of bullying tactics that have characterised the past four months at the frontier.”

It also wrote to both countries with advice on how to avoid crossing delays while also tackling cross-border issues – including smuggling and organised crime – which Spain claims drove its decision to up security levels.

A Foreign Office official said, “We welcome the commission’s recommendations that the Spanish government should take measures to ensure that the Gibraltar-Spain border functions efficiently, and the commission’s commitment to review progress against their recommendations in six months.”

The EC also said the border issue was, “challenging, in view of the heavy traffic volumes in a relatively confined space and the increase in tobacco smuggling into Spain”.

The Olive Press has been keeping an eye on the crossing as part of its BorderWatch feature.

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4 COMMENTS

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  1. Good old EU inaction, I suggest the UK now imposes strict checks on any Spanish lorry or person entering the UK. It’s the only way to deal with this Spanish government, an eye for an eye. Oh and impound any GC boat entering Gib waters.

  2. Well there we have it; the checks are legal and recommendations are… well just that, recommendations. You can choose to follow them, or not.

  3. The report asks Spain to examine ways to ease the flow of traffic ie. add more lanes their side so its not six into two as now. Be interesting to see if they do this as there’s EU funding available for this kind of infastructure improvement and you can bet they know it.

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