PEOPLE will experience ‘long border delays, extending to several hours’ when going into and out of Spain if there is no EU treaty, the British territory’s government has warned.

This would be caused by ‘the systematic and thorough nature of the controls which would need to be carried out on all persons crossing the border’, the government said.

With these delays being worse at peak times it advised companies that have large numbers of workers who commute from Spain everyday to plan ahead.

The details were explained in a Technical Notice released recently in case of a No Negotiated Outcome (NNO).

Talks on an EU treaty between Britain, Spain and the EU have rolled through nine rounds of extensive negotiation so far.

Gibraltar relies on a fluid frontier for a large part of its economy, including tourism, online gaming and banking services.

“These controls include the systematic electronic scanning of passports and stamping of passports, checks with respect to the number of days being spent in the Schengen Area and enquiries which could lead to deeper interrogations by border guards,” the government said.

“This is the position at all the external borders of the Schengen zone.”

Looking forward

The Rock’s authorities said it had put in place ‘traffic management plans, and plans to potentially improve border infrastructure’ to soften the impact but the ball was very much in Spain’s court.

“Whether the Spanish authorities decide to amplify facilities or streamline traffic flows to reduce delays to the maximum extent possible, are matters for the Spanish authorities,” the statement explained.

For this reason, Gibraltar authorities have asked companies to ‘manage’ this situation effectively.

“It would be prudent for businesses to identify staff members who live across the border and consult them on the ways which employers can facilitate their day-to-day management of commutes.

“For instance, planning for staggered shift patterns so that not all staff members are required to cross the border during peak times or the introduction of more flexible working hours are some of the strategies which could be considered.”

Politicians fear that a NNO could lead to a mass exodus of businesses from the Rock as many of their workers live in Spain.

But at least coaches could still get easier access into and out of Gibraltar.

The Interbus Agreement, as it is known, would still apply to the Rock if agreed by the European Conference of Ministers of Transport.

Only the transfer of meat from the UK would be a problem for Gibraltar in the event of no deal.

This would have to be shipped to Gibraltar via ferry from Algeciras using the new facilities built at the local port last year.

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