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.