19 Nov, 2011 @ 13:12
1 min read

Motorbike checks at the Gibraltar border investigated

MOTORBIKE checks imposed by Spanish police on riders crossing the Gibraltar border are to be investigated by the European Commission.

The daily checks – which have caused huge tailbacks – are in response to an increase in motorbikes being used to smuggle tobacco, according to the Spanish authorities.

But despite Spanish police scaling back their operation in recent weeks, Gibraltar’s Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson has questioned the legality of the action.

Watson has filed a series of questions with the European Parliament in which he suggests the checks may have breached EU rules on freedom of movement.

“The checks are causing traffic problems, as they affect all border users and mean that delays crossing the border often exceed an hour,” he said.

“Is the Commission satisfied that these untargeted checks are in line with EU rules on free movement and customs?” he continued.

The MEP also proposed a possible solution to the issue, based on traffic management schemes used at airports.

“Has the Commission considered the introduction of Red/Green/Blue channels, similar to those in place at airports, for vehicles where such checks are in place at land borders?”

Eloise Horsfield

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  1. The coloured zones are a waste of time. How many people go through the “Something to declare” door in the airport? NOBODY! We all grit our teeth and hope nobody checks our bags. Doing this on the Spain/Gib border will NOT clear the tailbacks. In fact, it would probably make it worse as everyone would go through the “Nothing to declare” channel and would still need to be searched. More wasted money!

  2. I was hoping you would publish the story wit the Commission’s reply to the MEP. Oh ok, I’ll do it for you: “None of our business, Spain is in its right to act as it pleases in order to control its borders”.

  3. I agree with Carlos, (although his clear dislike to comment is unwarranted), that it is up to Spain what it does at it’s border, assuming it is legal of course. However, perhaps the answer is in staffing levels.
    I cross the border regularly, and when the checks were in place, there was just 1 bike being checked at a time.
    At least if checks are to be done, do them efficiently.

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