CHAIR of the European Scrutiny Committee in the UK House of Commons, Sir William Cash MP, has called for Gibraltar border problems to be investigated “as a matter of urgency”.
In a letter addressed to the UK government’s Europe Minister James Cleverly, Cash described the gravity with which he sees the situation at the Gibraltar border and called the anxiety of British citizens on the Rock “deeply concerning”.
The committee chair gave examples of stories he had heard from Brits in Gibraltar since Cleverly last gave an update to the committee on 28 April at which he was largely unaware of the concerns Brits in Spain and Gibraltar are having regarding crossing back and forward.
The letter puts to the Europe Minister that Brits have had to miss hospital appointments and postpone family gatherings due to being unable to cross the border, and that holders of Gibraltar blue registration cards are being denied entry to Spain on the grounds of not having documentary evidence to prove their visit meets Schengen Border Codes.
Cash notes that this strict enforcement of Schengen rules seen in recent weeks, in which Brits have been asked to present evidence of accommodation and return flights in order to enter Spain, marks “a concerning change in approach” to how the border has been managed since the UK left the European Union.
He went on to question the timing of Spain’s tightening of rules, implying the possibility of it being strategic with regard to current negotiations between the UK and EU for a trade and border agreement for Gibraltar.
This is a suggestion which James Cleverly categorically denied at the committee’s last hearing.
Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo is due to give an update on the agreement negotiations when the Gibraltarian Parliament recommences next week.
Cash requested that Cleverly respond to the letter, dated May 11, within ten days.
- Problem, what problem?: UK’s Europe Minister James Cleverly ‘not aware’ of Gibraltar border issues
- Confusion as Brits fall foul of beefed up Spanish border rules crossing from Gibraltar
- Concerns raised after Spain tightens checks on Brit travellers crossing border from Gibraltar