MILLIONS will be spent by Spain’s Tax Administration Agency in a one-sided attempt to free up Gibraltar border crossings with ‘smart’ passes.
A €5.3 million plan has been drawn up to install 12 barcode scanners and a ‘fast lane’ exclusively for Spanish frontier workers, to expedite crossings at the border.
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has denounced the plan as shortsighted, beneficial only to Spain by excluding tourists and Gibraltarians
He comments: “Their right to free movement is being undermined by Spain.”
Gibraltarians who work in Spain will also be able to utilise the new system by applying for a pass that will require renewal annually.
Opponents of the scheme say the move has been made unilaterally, without prior consultation with the UK or the European Commission.
On top of all of this, the Spanish workers association in Gibraltar have also rebelled against the new system, saying that the Spanish tax office is using it to identify Spaniards who already pay taxes in Gib and then forcing them to pay taxes to Spain.
“The new system is such a joke,” says native Gibraltarian Damian, who works as a tour guide on the Rock.
“Bear in mind, European Union citizens only have to pay taxes in one EU country, so if they pay taxes in Gib, they should not have to pay in Spain.”
The new system, which will replace the checking of IDs by border guards, will be introduced before summer 2015, according to the Spanish Customs Office.