SPAIN and Gibraltar have started to divide incoming pedestrians at their frontier into queues for EU and UK citizens respectively, causing new frontier delays.
After Spain divided pedestrians into EU and non-EU citizens, Gibraltar did the same, setting up pedestrian queues for UK and non-UK nationals.
Policia Nacional agents have also set up a new separate traffic queue for motorbikes, bicycles and scooters to try to speed up their entry and exit of the British overseas territory.
Spain’s Policia Nacional said they warned Gibraltar of these plans ‘more than a week ago’.
But the new system has added to the frontier chaos, as border guards and frontier users on both sides get used to the change.
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister said it was dividing pedestrians ‘reluctantly’ and slammed the Spanish border changes as unhelpful.
It led to delays of over 45 minutes for both pedestrians and motorists coming into Gibraltar.
But frontier users reported that the police were giving a lot more attention to EU citizens crossing back into Spain, forcing them to wait in line to get their IDs and passports scanned.
This has led to the current escalation where Spanish workers are being forced in the non-UK line to enter Gibraltar this week.
It followed delays of over two hours for motorists and similar queues of pedestrians on September 1.
But the Spanish Ministry for the Interior said it had not introduced any changes to the management of frontier traffic last week.
After Gibraltar Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia once again threatened to respond in kind, the situation returned to ‘normal’.
And Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told national television station GBC that it was still holding up for an EU treaty.
But it said that no progress could be made on talks until Spain had a new central government in Madrid.
And Picardo admitted that as Spain now has a caretaker government, ‘our contact with Spanish colleagues is perhaps not as fluid as it had been before’.
“Some of the work we have done seems to have been undone by some of the agents that want to undo the good relations,” Picardo told GBC.
“That just leads to a potential deterioration [in relations with Spain] but I hope that we will be able to see common sense prevail,” he added.
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