It’s bound to cause further acrimony between two territories whose relationship has long been frosty.
The mayor of La Linea, the Spanish town closest to the Rock, has proposed a small toll for visitors hoping to enter Gibraltar through Spain.
Mayor Alejandro Sanchez believes that Gibraltar has been taking advantage of La Linea.
He says that the town has not reaped any benefits, though millions of heavy-spending visitors cross La Linea to enjoy Gibraltar’s apes, tax-free shopping, and vistas of Africa every year.
“Meanwhile, we have 10,000 unemployed in La Linea. This truly intolerable situation cannot continue,” he commented.
Sanchez had initiated a study on the legality of charging an entrance toll for pedestrians and vehicles crossing into Gibraltar.
Spanish citizens who work on the Rock would be exempt from the fee, which would aim to give financial aid to the near-bankrupt La Linea town hall.
The proposal comes on the eve of Tripartite Forum for Dialogue meetings that hope to set aside sovereignty debates and reach cooperation between the three lands.
Critics of the mayor’s plan say that La Linea already benefits enough from Gibraltar with 7,000 Spanish workers employed on the rock and over 28,000 Gibraltarians owning homes across the border in Spain.
This instance is not the first time Sanchez has been criticized for thorny treatment of border crossers.
Just last week the mayor was denounced for ordering police to stop and check documents of vehicles crossing into Spain, causing many delays.
A Gibraltar government spokesman commented, “The mayor must find means of conducting domestic politics with his central government that does not involve instructing his police to harass Gibraltarians.”
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