Spanish warship disrupts British Navy training exercise in Gibraltar

LAST UPDATED: 21 Feb, 2014 @ 15:00
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Spanish warship disrupts British Navy training exercise in Gibraltar

INTERNATIONAL relations face further tension after a Spanish warship entered British-controlled waters around Gibraltar, disrupting a Royal Navy training exercise.

The British Foreign Office will issue a ‘formal protest’, which will take the form of a diplomatic letter.

The Navy training exercise had to be suspended by military chiefs while a Gibraltar Squadron patrol boat guided the Spanish ship away from the area, after the infringement on Tuesday.

A department spokesman for the Foreign Office said it would raise the incursion at a ‘high level’.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said the Royal Navy challenges “all unlawful incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters.”

He added: “There should be no doubt that the MoD remains absolutely committed to ensuring the defence and security of Gibraltar.”

This latest development adds to the already complicated relationship between Britain and Spain, after the sinking of concrete blocks last year for Gibraltar’s artificial reef project.

Spain complained that these blocks would cause problems for their fishing industry, and shortly afterwards imposed strict controls at the border with Gibraltar.

Britain and Gibraltar argued that these checks were politically motivated but the European Commission ruled that the border checks had not infringed any European law.

Britain lodged a previous formal complaint to Spanish authorities in November last year, after a diplomatic bag was opened by police at the border with Gibraltar.

The British Foreign Office said at the time that diplomatic bags were ‘inviolable’, and to open one was a ‘serious infringement’ of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

50 COMMENTS

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  1. Bearing in mind that the Navy training exercise in question was a parachute jump by SPAG (Submarine Parachute Assistance Group – the British rescue team that would go to a submarine in distress), I can only hope that the Spanish Navy has triple checked the figures for its new class of submarine (the one that was at least 75 tons too heavy to surface), just in case.

  2. British Gibraltar waters.

    UNCLOS ICJ cases: Gulf of Maine case 1984, paragraph 83, ‘No maritime delimitation between two states whose coasts are adjacent or opposite each other may be taken unilaterally by either one of these states.’

    ICJ Black Sea case 3 February 2009, paragraph 33 ‘Finally regarding Romania’s declaration, the Court observes that under Article 310 of UNCLOS, a state is not precluded from making declarations and statements when signing, ratifying the Convention provided these do not exclude or modify the legal effect of the provisions of UNCLOS in their application to the state which has made the declaration or statement. Romania’s declaration as such has no bearing on the Court’s interpretation.’ (Romania had made statements/declarations regarding security, fisheries and uninhabited islands. Similarly Spain has made statements/declarations in regard to Utrecht).

  3. The S.P.A.G team is one of a very few specialised submarine rescue units. Although primarily dealing with potential Royal Navy incidents, it is on call to assist any submarine in distress including Spanish ones as the Spanish navy does not have this capability.
    It trains in Gibraltar because
    1. Generally, weather conditions are better than in the UK.
    2.The proximity of the airport to the sea allows it to carry out numerous sorties hence more drops meaning more efficient training.
    They have been carrying out these exercises for a few years now without any interference as their skills are recognised worldwide and the unit might be deployed at any time to help out submariners anywhere irrespective of their nationality.

  4. Britbob

    The case of disputed waters between sovereign neighbour nations does not apply here.

    Gibraltar is not part of the United Kingdom, it is not a country and it is not a nation. It is a colony of the United Kingdom on the sothern tip of Spain, nothing more and nothing less.

    Spain has never recognized what you call BGTW and because this exercise envolved units of greater importance than those of “Dad’s Army Gibraltar Dinghy Squadron” , Spain was forced to send a clear message with the presence of the Spanish Navy instead of the usual GC patrol boats.

  5. One looks at that picture accompanying the article and wonders why that piece of rock didn’t land somewhere near the French Riviera instead of where it did or even near the Algarve. We would all have been so much happier! Sigh! As is we the Gibraltarians have to put up with being used intermittently as a red rag whenever the “piel de toro” has internal problems to distract their long suffering inhabitants. The more problems the more distraction needed.

    Ciudadanos there are no disputed waters, the waters are British!! Fin de la Cita!

  6. Ciudadanos

    If spain was so confident that this is the case then they will take it to an international court????

    Thought not as it is a smoke screen to other issues, I love spain and the Spanish people but enough is enough we are all eu states and if he eu commission had its own way a national gov would be nothing more than a. Council and as such there would be no borders etc so please wise up and stop your drivel

  7. In December 2010, Jose Antonio de yturriaga, the former Spanish ambassador of Iraq, Ireland and Russia said,

    ‘the Spanish position on the issue of Gibraltar’s territorial waters was weak and lacked any legal basis.’

  8. Gentelmen, let us agree to disagree! Just because Gibraltar is a peculiar leftover of the British Empire which will never become a country or nation, does not mean we cannot all get along together.

    Spain will continue to provide security in the waters around Gibraltar.

    With respect to the future of Spain in the European Union, let’s face it, the EU is going towards complete integration. The only European nation that is not interested, is the UK which will be leaving sooner or later.

    When the UK exists the EU, Spain will be able to restore much needed proper border control procedures with Gibraltar.

  9. My dear Anselmo and Ciudadanos
    1. One thing is Spain not recognising BGTW in theory and another thing is what is internationally recognised and happens in practice. In fact, this applies to the Gibraltar situation in general. From my window I can see up to fifteen vessels from all over the world anchored in the bay right up to the meridian line all flying the Gibraltar courtesy flag. You might get incursions by Spanish naval vessels, which amounts to wasting diesel, sailing into BGTW and sometimes being a nuisance like flies in summer but in practice there is very little they can do.
    2.UK has played the EU card very cleverly. Staying out of the Euro has meant it has not had to bail out as heavily as Germany southern countries such as Spain. UK will remain in the EU with it’s own particular terms. Spain and other Mediterranean countries should be wary of further integration as they are in danger of being even more subservient, something they already are, to the economically powerful northern countries.
    3. The EU dictates what rights European citizens have and Gibraltarians have been EU citizens longer than the Spanish. You might want to exercise greater controls over the border but, because of your debt, in practice you have lost much of your sovereignty and Europe will not accept interference with the rights of EU nationals from many countries who work in Gibraltar.

  10. El Fifi

    How is my man from la marcha? I have to say I agree with you completely when you critizise the level of political corruption in Spain but your overall attitude towards Spain in unfair.
    Spain whether you like it or not is the only nation that has guaranteed the security and defence of the rock of Gibraltar over the last 30 years not the UK.

    1) Spain stopped Argentine commandos attacking different targets in Gibraltar in 1982. Of course Spain kept quiet about it to not be seen as supporting the UK.
    2) Spain gave the UK vital information by detecting and surveying the movements of an IRA cell from their entry into Spain until they crossed over into Gibraltar.
    3) Spain recently detected and foiled plans for an Islamic Fundamentalist cell preparing to carry out a terrorist attack on the rock of Gibraltar.

    You can bitch and moan about Spain and even believe ridiculous newspaper articles about the importance of “Dad’s Army” or the UK’s commitment to the defence of Gibraltar but the fact is, It’s Spain that controls the access and airspace around Gibraltar and in consequence, guarantees the defence , safety and security on the rock.

  11. Ciudadanos

    Your probably right with regards defense of gibraltar but allegedly interfering in a training exercise for a force that will assist submariners of any nation was stupid especially as spain doesn’t have similar capabilities.

    Spain needs to take this one on the chin or people could end up suffering more, how long before the uk and gibraltar have enough and decide they are not paying pensions to individuals who quit their gib jobs due to Franco etc which they are entitied to do as spain broke the cordoba agreement. It is spanish workers being hurt by the border delays, it is getting more and. MOre annoying to read the tit for tat every week any individual can see they need to find an accord and work together

    Apologies if this seemed like a rant but there is no way normal spanish citizens care about gibraltar they care about jobs, education, and family

  12. Ciudadanos

    Spain stopped Argentinian commandos in 1982?

    All that Spain needed in 1982 was some foolhardy Argentinians disrupting the peace Impasse that was achieved after the 23rd February 1981 attempted coup in Spain.

    Spain gave the UK vital information by detecting and surveying the movements of an IRA Cell??

    Wasn’t it UK who requested that info because they had been following the movements of the cell from its very initiation? Isn’t it normal practice for intelligence to be shared between NATO allies? Doesn’t UK help out when they have found ETA members in UK?

    Spain recently detected and foiled plans for an Islamic fundamentalist cell preparing to carry out a terrorist attack on the Rock?

    The Rock, or the highly inflammable neighbouring areas?

    In any case what cell? There was no Rock mentioned at the time, what was mentioned as the “possible” target was a popular Spanish shopping centre. Apparently the person accused, and who was working in Gibraltar, is free and with a big bone to pick with those who arrested him.

    The fact is that NATO controls and guarantees the defence, safety and security of the Rock and the whole area of the Straits of Gibraltar, why else do you have the much trumpeted defence shield in Rota?

    What we all complain about is, and reading you makes it even more poignant, that Spain, or shall we say certain sections of the political spectrum in Spain, use Gibraltar as the unifying cry of a fast disintegrating political system, regardless of what damages it inflicts on its own citizens across the border in so doing, and with absolutely no hope of recovering Gibraltar, or the political maturity to accept that fact, PUBLICLY AND PERMANENTLY.

  13. Ciudadanos
    My dear “man from la mancha”, if you lost your marbles in a game you might want them back but the marbles remain in somebody else’s pocket.
    Perhaps if you were nice enough, I might give some back to you but if you are not you aren’t getting any, no matter how much you rant and rave.

    I remember guarding ammunition ranging from 7.62 rounds to Rapier missiles because Spain had rejected US flights overflying its territory during the Libyan crisis whilst the UK had fully supported the operation thus Gibraltar became a target. So much for Spain defending Gibraltar! The US will use Rota as a base but it will not back a Spanish claim over Gibraltar as the UK is a consistent and reliable ally and don’t come back to me with the missile defence shield as Spain has not been given access to the same technology carried aboard the US ships.
    Spain has become an economic colony of the EU and USA.

  14. El Fifi,

    Spain was offered the option to participate in the missile defence shield with one or more of its frigates, however the current defence budget constraits could not justify the cost of participating directly in the program and Spain opted for a logistical support role to include the maintenance of the four US frigates the will be permanently based in Rota.

    The very existence of Rota Naval Air Station and other military installations such as Morón Air Force base, with Spanish Eurofighters and more than 500 US marines ready for action at short notice provides, indirecty, security for Gibraltar not “Dad’s Army” with a bunch of gatling guns.

  15. Ciudadanos
    Gibraltar’s defence establishment has what it needs at this moment in time. The security status is under constant review and if it did change then it would be upped commensurate with its needs. This makes military and economic sense.
    As regards the Rota Naval Base, having the missile defence shield based there does not provide extra security, quite on the contrary, it and the surrounding area becomes a prime target!

  16. I really wish this bitter wrangling over Gibraltar could be brought to an end. OK, it might not be an ideal situation but I think a change in attitude is what is needed by the Spanish authorities. Gibraltar provides jobs for many Spaniards and it brings a lot of business to La Linea and the surrounding area. When I am on holiday in Spain I always visit Gibraltar but I never stay there, I always stay in a hotel in La Linea and I always eat in restaurants there too. According to the people who run the hotel I stay in, lots of other people do this too and it is the main core of their business. If it was not for Gibraltar, how many people would visit La Linea? Why not view Gibraltar as an added tourist attraction? If Spain held a territory in the UK of the same size for the same length of time I would not care, in fact I would view it as a place of interest and would be a frequent visitor there. I imagine many other people would too. If Spain really feels that strongly about it, why don’t they give up Ceuta and Melilla as a gesture? Forget all the different treaties and what went on in the past, try to get something positive out of it – make it work in for you. Incidentally, I’ve yet to meet a Spaniard who really cares about it so what is the point of causing so much ill feeling.

  17. We were all getting on like hunky-dori until the Government of Gibraltar decided to heat up the summer by dumping concrete blocks in the waters that were only used by a poor bunch of Spanish fishermen who were harming nobody.
    Spain for some time had been turning a blind eye on tax evasion, money laundering and tabacco smuggling on the rock to avoid conflict with Gibraltar and especially the UK, so the Government of Gibraltar thought they could get away with it.
    I disapprove everything the PP Spanish Government has done since getting into office except for their policy on Gibraltar which has been spot on.
    I am all for talks to resolve the current situation, but the starting point has to be the removal of the concrete blocks.

  18. Ciudadanos

    There is absolutely no evidence of any tax evasion or money laundering in gibraltar this is thoroughly audited and also spanish fisherman have are harming people with their continual pilfering of other nations seas not just gibraltar it is well known that many in the uk would want spanish fishermen to stay out of uk waters also spain has many of these concrete blocks along its coast are you saying that these had no effect on those apparent poor fisherman? Well I for one think these blocks should stay as according to Many they actually replenish fish stocks though do think that spain should put up in court about all it’s accusations

  19. Ciudadanos
    We were indeed getting along fine until your PP foreign minister shouted “Gibraltar Espanol” long before any concrete blocks were dropped. It immediately warned everybody in the area that the co-operation that had existed was going to disappear overnight and indeed it did.
    1. According to the UN charts, those blocks were dropped within BGTW. They were exactly of the same type dropped by Spain along many miles of coastline in order to replenish fish stocks. In fact, they were bought in Spain.
    Only one boat, La Divina Providencia trawled that area.
    Evidence has since proved that marine life is flourishing only after a few months.
    2.Gibraltar adheres to the highest European Standards regarding financial transparency. So much for the money laundering accusations by the PP government.
    3. Bunkering within Gibraltar waters is not illegal according to the EU.
    4. The east side reclamation in order to preserve and regenerate a beach, Sandy Bay, is legal according to the EU.
    5. E-Commerce and on-line banking all comply with EU regulations.
    6. Smuggling does take place between Gibraltar and Spain but nothing compared to what comes through Algeciras. A single container contains more than the tobacco confiscated at the Gibraltar border in a year!
    What has Spain achieved in the last few months? Grief and heartbreak for all those crossing the border, all EU citizens.
    And in the last few days, Spain has agreed that, as part of its foreign policy, it needs an innovative approach to the Gibraltar question!
    What a waste of time, resources and human suffering.
    Go on, blame it on Picardo.

  20. My dear ciudadanos
    History has not taught you guys anything. How many sieges, military or economic, has Gibraltar endured and survived always coming out even stronger.
    Apart from the queues which affect cross frontier workers most of whom are Spanish or other EU citizens, Gibraltar seems to be doing very well thank you.
    It is experiencing high economic growth and practically no unemployment. It ranks 4th in the world as regards GDP. This is the envy of many countries and I wonder if envy is not tinging decisions made by Madrid.
    By the way, the blocks are still where they should be, under the sea.

  21. El Fifi,

    Having an economy based on being a leech sucking what you can out of real economies like that of the UK or Spain has its advantages without a doubt, after all , the only consequence is the need to further tax the middle class in the UK or Spain which you in Gibraltar couldn’t care less about.

  22. My dear ciudadanos
    When one starts to insult it means that you have run out of logical arguments. I must have hit a nerve judging by your reaction.
    1. We generate our own wealth and everything in compliance with international regulations irrespective of the baseless accusations thrown at us by your corrupt and inefficient government.
    2. We do not cost UK a single penny.
    3. We are the main employer of the Campo area and beyond.
    Please explain your accusation of being a leech. I would have thought we were quite the opposite.
    Oh, and by the way, an explosion today aboard one of your state of the art frigates has injured 6 up in El Ferrol. And this while it was tied up alongside. Good thing the ship didn’t blow up. So glad we don’t rely on Spain for our defence.

  23. Ciudadanos, Susan has it right. I may have stayed in the surrounding areas of Gib this Summer but as there are so many queues I thought I may as well make my journey pleasant and cross the border once in and once out, so a hotel and some bars / restaurants in Spain have missed out and I expect many just give the whole area a miss so Spain and Gib miss out, but I am also going to Cueta and no doubt I will be smiling away laughing at the justification you and others make at how this is different. What do you want this rock for? I expect many businesses would leave if Spain took over so I do not think it will create any large money grabbing scams. Is it a macho thing or just something the press have worked people into a frenzy about. It is easy to do, we have the Scottish National Party doing this in the UK and it is not difficult to get quite a few people wound up by being Nationalistic. The more difficult Spain makes it for Gib the more difficult it makes it for itself with loss of income and ordinary Spanish people getting stuck in the middle trying to earn a living. Spain is shooting itself in the foot but as the recession ends this problem will fade away, maybe even after the next election but then to occur 18 months before the next election or when another recession hits. We have it in the UK but instead of Gib we call it immigration, they all talk a good story but in reality the politicians let everyone in and nothing changes and the politicians blame it on Europe. They have always got someone else to blame why they could not do something, probably the same as your lot. You have made me laugh regarding Dad’s army, but that is probably what the Argentinians thought thousands of miles away and now they have no Air Force and surprise surprise, when recession hits they go on about the Malvinas / Falklands, politicians know what they are doing, leading the sheep by distraction and no doubt they could invade Gib if they wanted to but they don’t want to. I had a friend like you who I went to school with, he would argue until everyone else gave up, even if he was wrong, anyway he did not have a good ending with his life and his character was to blame, put your energy into something useful and positive, it will be more rewarding, life is too short, Dr Rt Hon Derek Roger Stevens can tell you that.

  24. My dear Ciudadanos
    I couldn’t go to bed without adding a few words.
    As a former T.A. member of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, Dad’s army as you call us I would like to provide you with a list of some of the units we exercised with.
    1. Royal Marines.
    2. The Black Watch.
    3. Royal Anglians.
    4. The Parachute Regiment.
    5. The Green Jackets.
    6. Royal Irish Regiment.
    7. The Royal Fusiliers.
    8 US Navy S.E.A.L.S.
    9. 2nd Infantry Parachute Brigade, Royal Moroccan Army
    10. Royal Engineers.
    And many more. Not bad for a dad’s army.
    Now, regarding the accident in El Ferrol, who ordered drills using explosives in a frigate full of missiles whiles tied up alongside in a busy dockyard? These drills should only have been “dry”, in other words, no live ammunition involved.
    I wonder what the US Navy thinks of this. These are the guys who, after all, are supposed to be working with you.
    Still, this is only an observation from an ex-member of your dad’s army.

  25. Reap

    The snp where elected by the majority of scots in a system not designed to give a majority on their manifesto which they are sticking too with regards to independance for scotland what promise has David cameron made and kept???? Answer none. Spain is using gib to hide issues but Britain would do the same if the situation was reversed

  26. Reap

    There are no zones of reduced taxation directly linked to mainland Britain for a very good reason, and that is that they would generate significant loss in tax revenue in the UK. Of course a tax free zone will always generate local employment of both sides of the border but the loss in tax revenue is much more damaging than the benefits for the local economy.

    The UK has territories with different levels of taxation like the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, but as these territories are not directly linked to mainland Britain, they do not adversely affect the UK. In other words, you don’t have a constante flow of people crossing the border to benefit from lower taxation in products like tabacco, alcohol or petrol.

    The UK would never accept a tax free zone linked to mainland Britain because if would lead to a significant loss in tax revenue, but in the case of Gibraltar it is OK, because it is Spain’s Inland Revenue that is losing out.

    Apart from the tax issue, Gibraltar is a favorite for corrupt Spaniards to launder their bribes in shelf companies.

  27. Reap
    There are no zones of reduced taxation directly linked to mainland Britain for a very good reason, and that is that they would generate significant loss in tax revenue in the UK. Of course a tax free zone will always generate local employment of both sides of the border but the loss in tax revenue is much more damaging than the benefits for the local economy.
    The UK has territories with different levels of taxation like the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, but as these territories are not directly linked to mainland Britain, they do not adversely affect the UK. In other words, you don’t have a constant flow of people crossing the border to benefit from lower taxation in products like tabacco, alcohol or petrol.
    The UK would never accept a tax free zone linked to mainland Britain because if would lead to a significant loss in tax revenue, but in the case of Gibraltar it is OK, because it is Spain’s Inland Revenue that is losing out.
    Apart from the tax issue, Gibraltar is a favorite for corrupt Spaniards to launder their bribes in shelf companies.

  28. Reap,
    the Scots were sold down the river by a bunch of scum laywers in Edinburgh, they never consulted the people but took the bribes from the English to ‘create’ the Act of Union.

    The English Tories and big business are trying to bully/blackmail the Scots into saying no, they are trying the same methods as the Spanish – it wont work.

    Frankly I don’t know why we did’nt declare UDI when the extent of the oil wealth was known. We could have done what thew Norwegians did and kept all the wealth for ourselves in a sovereign wealth fund – every man,woman and child has a nest egg of $100,000, every Norwegian citizen benefits not just a few uber rich – I forgot to add Norway has no national debt at all.

    What Salmond the fat little ex investment banker should do is threaten to turn Scotland into a tax haven and to seize the oil fields, we could always ask the Russians for arms to defend ourselves from alien aggression – see what those measures would do to sterling’s value.

    Gibralter people have not been turned over by scumbag lawyers, they want to remain British, that is their right and quite frankly if UK forces were used to hammer the Spanish it would not only be great for the Gibraltarians but it would most certainly start a revolution in Spain itself. The Spanish Fascists (and we all know what name they call themselves now) don’t have bombastic Benito or snot catcher Adolf to support and arm them now.

  29. My dear ciudadanos
    I suggest you look up the Royal Gibraltar Regiment in wikipedia before making rather flippant comments.
    Among those “Dad’s Army” moments you mention are 2 Bronze stars awarded by the USA and a Military Cross for actions beyond the call of duty in Afghanistan.
    Don’t let your ignorance blind you.

  30. Stefano
    What are you taking about? The Republic of Ireland is a true nation and Northern Ireland is part of the UK, so both have to look out for the needs of their people by gaining revenue from VAT. There is no major difference between prices in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    Gibraltar is a leech that has reduced VAT with the only goal of selling products not to its citizens, but to the Spanish on the other side of the border. I can’t believe Spain has put up with this crap for so long.
    Thanks to superstar Foreign Minister “Margallo”, we are little by little rectifying a situation that should never have been. His statement “The party is over” will go down in history as a turning point in Spain’s relationship with Gibraltar.
    Nobody in Spain has anything against Gibraltar or the Gibraltarians but Spain with all its faults, corruption scandals and shotcomings, deserve a little respect.

  31. My dear Ciudadanos
    First of all thank you for acknowledging the work done by the RGR in Afghanistan. We should all take off our hats to all the boys who put their lives on the line irrespective of their nationality or whether you agree with the Afghan policy or not. They serve whilst we have time to exchange differences within the comfort of our homes.
    Now to your comments.
    1. The difference in VAT between Northern Ireland and the Republic has seen an increase in smuggling. As with the border between Portugal and Spain or France and Spain.
    2.Reduced VAT in Gibraltar is aimed at the locals as well as the tourists wherever they come from. It is a source of revenue for a place this small and it only mirrors other small jurisdictions such as Andorra. If we can afford it why should we charge the higher taxes other countries charge?
    3.As regards Margallo’s “the party is over”, he is no superstar as the party is on-going. Tell me, what has he achieved? Of course his statement is a turning point. Instead of people sitting down and discussing, instead of friendship and co-operation, instead of freedom of movement and economic growth on both sides of the frontier you have this retrograde step that has caused so much animosity that it will take years to heal.
    Again, it is very easy to comment from the comfort of your sofa and I think your sofa is in the UK, but it is so different for the people on the ground.

  32. Ciudadanos

    There is a significant difference in prices between northern and Southern Ireland, I know this for a fact as I spend my time between spain and Northern Ireland where my wife is from, people regularly cross into the north to do their shopping and spain and gib there is no border posts between the two just a change in road signs

  33. Taz
    There are no significant differences in the price of petrol, tabacco or alcohol between north and south. The population of Northern Ireland is getting close to 2 million while the population of the Republic stands at 4.5 million. The demographics of both parts of Ireland mean that it would be highly unlikely to gain more revenue by significanty lowering tax on petrol, tabacco or alcohol.
    When governments decide on low taxation on these products, its revenue will have to come from other sources or alternatively, from the massive sale of the reduced taxed goods.

    So where can this work? Well let’s see, if you have for example a small territory of 30000 citizens right beside another territory of 45million citizens, and if it is possible to cross into this small territory by foot with no need to catch a plane or ferry to get there, then you have cracked it.

    This problem was forseen in the treaty of Utrecht by clearly starting the need to limit cross border trading.

    While a disagree with the border being closed by Franco, I don’t think it is right for you to think that it is an acceptable practise for the border to be wide open so as to allow your Spanish customers to cross the border 5 or 6 times a day with the sole objetive of purchasing petrol, tabacco and/or alcohol, hence the need for strict customs border controls.

  34. Ciudadanos

    We will have to agree to disagree, fuel is a little cheaper on Dublin than belfast, I don’t smoke so can’t comment on This but coffee and alcohol are definitely dearer in Dublin as I said I split my time between spain and Ireland so I can only comment on my actual experience,

    In none of my comments have I said there should be an open border quite the contrary I think spain has every right to check who is entering / leaving her land but there has to be limit to your actions .. Checking every car is obscene and the bill for enforcing this must be grand, also Utrecht is really out of date it says gib has no waters but waters where not taken into condsideration at the time in fact they wherent generally accepted until the 1960s surely you can’t ask another country to accept Spain’s right to waters under unclos then tell another nation they have none and like it or not gibraltar is an extension to the uk in the same way as Ceuta

  35. Stefano

    Thank God there are italian restaurants in the UK , if it wasn’t for the italian restaurants, I don’t know what I would do when I am over on business. There are only so many chicken and bacon sandwiches you can put into your system.
    The only part of the UK that provides a quality of life similar to living in Spain is central London and to live there, you need to be a Russian mafia oligarch or own a fuel bunkering business in Gibraltar.

  36. My dear Ciudadanos
    I must congratulate you on your standard of written English. I have taught English to many of your compatriots but I have never seen such fluency in a non-native speaker.
    As an anecdote, during a summer course, I taught the wife of the Prince of Spain’s mentor while he was attending the officer academy in Zaragoza. She was a very intelligent lady and a headmistress at the time but her written English just did not flow. By the way, this particular couple used to spend the summer down south. He used to drive her in in a drab olive green car and would wait outside in the heat for 3 hours and then drive her back.
    Anyway, your mastery of the English language reflects a high degree of intelligence.
    This is why I cannot understand how you can follow blindly the PP line on Gibraltar.
    Obviously, you are not unemployed and not suffering like many of your countrymen or else you would be commenting on issues that directly affect the well being of the ordinary Spaniard instead of concentrating on this little piece of rock.

  37. Small correction: Gibraltar doesn’t levy VAT on goods and services, though it does levy duties, so ‘duty-free’ is a misnomer.

    Differences between the prices of goods sold in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have varied considerably as a result of exchange rates. In the early 2000’s, people in the North were driving across the border to fill up with petrol, but by the late 2000’s the reverse was happening. Some people in Dublin were driving all the way to Newry on the border to shop in Sainsburys, where food, in addition to being cheaper, was not subject to VAT.

    As for new cars, the advantage is that they can be exported from the Republic tax-free, which meant that people in Northern Ireland only had to pay UK VAT at 17.5 per cent instead of 20 per cent Irish VAT and 25 per cent VRT (Vehicle Registration Tax). (You can usually spot Irish imports as GM cars are badged as Opels, not Vauxhalls.)

    Although cars in Gibraltar are left hand drive, it would probably be too much hassle importing it and registering it in Spain, even if you intended to pay tax on a brand new one.

    Similar things happen between Denmark and Sweden with Danes in Copenhagen buying houses in Malmö and commuting across the bridge, and Swedes buying cars tax free in Denmark, where the pre-tax price is much lower because taxes on cars in Denmark is 180-200 per cent. Neither country is in the EU, and the krone and krona fluctuate in value.

    Singapore got so fed up with people driving across the causeway to Malaysia to fill up on cheaper petrol that it made it mandatory for cars to have a full tank before they went to Johor Baru (which is to Singapore what La Línea is to Gibraltar – seedier but cheaper to live in). At least Spain and Gibraltar don’t expect people to fill in immigration forms and get their passports stamped in both directions.

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