The Gibraltar Government has sent a complaint to the European Commission about the “disproportionate checks” being conducted by the Spanish authorities on pedestrians entering Spain. It follows the recent build-up of pedestrian queues over the past fortnight, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle.
The Government said checks conducted by the Spanish authorities on motorists entering and leaving Gibraltar had resulted in drivers parking their cars in pay car parks in Spain and entering Gibraltar on foot.
This had led to a decrease in vehicular traffic and an increase in the number of pedestrians coming in and out.
“The main impact of the delays are on persons who work in Gibraltar and who live in Spain, including many thousands of Spanish workers who commute in and out of Gibraltar every day, as well on people coming to Gibraltar on a tourism visit or on business,” the Gibraltar Government said in a statement.
“The consequence of the new increased checks being conducted by the Spanish authorities on pedestrians has seen the elderly, young children and disabled persons on wheelchairs being made to wait to cross the border from Gibraltar into Spain.”
The Government said it had sent European Commission officials in Brussels photographs of the latest pedestrian queues and details of every single delay to vehicles and motorists in either direction covering September and October 2013.
This included pictures of the double-filter operated at the border, which had led to some drivers being checked two times by the same agency as they entered Spain.
Gibraltar Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said the Government wanted to keep the European Commission informed of every development so it was able to scrutinize new data and up to date information as part of its investigation into the border checks.
“The delays being engineered by the Spanish authorities are now unpredictable as well as disproportionate,” Dr Garcia said. They affect cars, motorbike or pedestrians travelling in either direction and can take place in the morning, afternoon, evening or even late at night”.
“The Government will continue to do everything in its power to expose the continuing bullying tactics exerted by the Spanish Government against a small territory like Gibraltar.”
“These tactics serve no useful purpose other than to disrupt the daily lives of citizens on both sides of the border, and this abuse is totally unnecessary, absolutely intolerable and it undermines the right of EU nationals to freedom of movement through an EU border.