The Gibraltar Government strongly condemned the lengthy and deliberate delays to cross the frontier into Spain which have been experienced by Gibraltarians and visitors to Gibraltar. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, currently in London has already been in touch with the UK Government and urged them to take up the matter with Spain at the highest level
“The frontier with Spain has not operated normally since the day it opened and the Spanish Government has often used it a means of applying political pressure on Gibraltar. It will be recalled that the situation deteriorated to such a degree few years ago that a dedicated frontier complaints office was opened,” No 6 said this evening.
The traffic flow has been particularly bad on Sunday, with cars at times taking more than five hours to cross into Spain. Gibraltar argues that the usual average number of cars crossing into Spain is from 150 to 300 every half an hour. The average number of cars crossing into Spain on Sunday was between 30 and 60 an hour.
“This shows that the delays are unrelated to volume of traffic”.
The Gibraltar Government, in a humanitarian gesture towards those stuck in the queue, distributed over 1700 bottles of water and, in addition to this, two small water tankers supplied water at the Eastern Beach roundabout and then at the frontier.
Gibraltar considers that the delays are an affront to the principle of freedom of movement of EU nationals through an EU frontier. The checks being conducted by the Spanish authorities are excessive and disproportionate with no regard for the need to operate a red and green channel.
As reported earlier Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who is in London, has already been in touch with the UK Government and urged them to take up the matter with Spain at the highest level. He will take the opportunity afforded by Gibraltar Day to make the point to a distinguished audience.
The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, who is Acting Chief Minister in Mr Picardo's absence, has himself contacted Parliamentarians in the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the European Parliament. This will continue and will be extended.
The attempt to use the frontier as a political weapon against Gibraltar has not worked in the past and it will not work now. The action taken by Spain is unfriendly, un-neighbourly and un-European and the Gibraltar Government will expose this in whatever forum is available to us, said Acting Chief Minister Garcia.