GIBRALTAR-registered cars are being impounded in Spain as part of strict COVID-19 measures, it has emerged.
The Spanish authorities are seizing Gibraltarians’ vehicles and not releasing them until they are re-registered with Spanish license plates, according to GBC.
It is also reported that owners must pay import duty and administration costs.
A number of cars are so far understood to have been impounded.
A La Linea Guardia Civil officer told the Olive Press: “The laws says that is if someone is registered in Spain they automatically have to register their car ‘to be Spanish’ as well.”
The law in both Gibraltar and Spain states that residents must register vehicles in their country of residence.
However there has, for a long time, been a grey area for Gibraltarians with residency on both sides of the frontier.
Police in Spain are understood to have started requesting evidence of Spanish residency.
They are enforcing the re-registering of plates for those with residency in Spain, who drive a Gibraltar-registered vehicle.
GBC reported that it has seen documentation proving that several drivers are to be charged admin fees and import duty for the changes.
It said the lowest amount invoiced was €42, while the highest was €17,800.
The Olive Press put the question to the Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo at today’s press conference.
“The government cannot condone activity which is contrary to Spanish law,” said Picardo.
“Spanish law provides that if you are a resident of Spain, then you cannot be possession of a vehicle which is not registered as Spanish.”
“This has been going on in Spain for over 20 or 30 years since their position of VAT.”
He said that the government of Gibraltar could not do anything for those people that have been fined such large sums.
“I think what this pandemic has brought about is the spotlight of clarity on people’s legal status where they live and where they pretend to live,” he continued.
“I fully understand that people that lived with the benefit of a very fluid situation, but when the when the music has stopped people have been left holding the baby that they are responsible for.
“The government of Gibraltar cannot do anything to help you to undo the provisions inasmuch as I’m hugely sympathetic if somebody has been caught out inadvertently in that respect.”