UK Minister for Europe David Lidington welcomed Thursday’s return visit to Gibraltar by the European Commission to review progress towards addressing delays at the Gibraltar-Spain Border. Lidington recently visited Gibraltar to check the situation at the border and incursions by Spanish vessels of the Rock's waters.
Delays at the border in recent weeks experienced by the people of Gibraltar and the Campo area were at totally unacceptable levels. I am pleased that the Commission responded to our lobbying for a return by the border monitoring mission. The UK Government has regularly raised border delays with the Commission since the beginning of disruption last summer, and we will continue to do so, said Minister Lidington.
I visited Gibraltar this week and saw at first hand the positive and decisive steps which the Government of Gibraltar has taken to address the recommendations the Commission made to them seven months ago. It is now time to see real action from the Spanish authorities to implement the recommendations made to them, and for them to end the current regime of disproportionate checks.
Finally the minister said that the UK Government expects the Commission to ensure that the Spanish authorities act on the Commission’s recommendations and return border checks to reasonable and proportionate levels.
Gibraltarians are citizens of an EU Member State and their European rights must be fully respected.
When Spain imposed restrictions at the Gibraltar-Spain border, leading to excessively long queues in an out of Gibraltar British PM David Cameron intervened with European Commission president Barroso in August 2013.
That was followed by an EC monitoring team subsequently visited the border on 25 September 2013. In November 2013 the European Commission followed up with recommendations for UK and the Government of Spain aimed at easing the border delays.
The Commission requested updates within six-months on action taken, and agreed to consider a follow-up visit if appropriate.
The British government wants the Commission to put pressure on Spain to return border checks to reasonable and proportionate levels, and supports follow-up visits by the Commission’s border monitoring team.