Spanish government vessels have unlawfully entered British territorial waters around Gibraltar more than 600 times since the start of 2013, according to official figures. There were 496 incursions in 2013 and 112 in the first three months of 2014, the figures disclosed by Foreign Secretary William Hague revealed.
Catalonia President Artur Mas said he would forge ahead with his region's plans to hold a referendum on independence in November after Spain's parliament overwhelmingly rejected the petition. After a seven-hour debate in Madrid, and despite heavy support for the separatist movement in the wealthy northeastern region, 299 lawmakers voted against, 47 voted for and one abstained.
UK Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley has told a Spanish newspaper that British people hold Gibraltar ‘close to their hearts’ and that delays at the border are politically motivated. He underscored Britain and Gibraltar’s desire to engage in “practical” dialogue toward better cross-border relations that would benefit communities on either side of the frontier fence.
The mayor of the Spanish town of Algeciras, Jose Ignacio Landaluce flew back this weekend from Argentina, where he had attended a twinning ceremony with Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego that sought to highlight the ‘English occupation’ of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands.
Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy has declared that the latest incursion into Gibraltar waters, that saw London call in his Ambassador on Tuesday, “can be clarified”, and highlighted that Britain and Spain continue to enjoy “excellent relations.” He hoped such incidents will not be repeated but admitted that Spain and UK have long held opposing positions on the question of Gibraltar.
Former Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez, who played a key role in Spain's transition to democracy, died in Madrid on Sunday. He was 81. The former premier was hospitalized last Monday with respiratory problems related to Alzheimer's, his family said.
UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, personally raised Britain’s concerns about persistent “illegal” Spanish incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters, it was revealed. Mr. Hague spoke to Gonzalo de Benito, the Secretary of State at the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, on February 20 on the margins of an emergency meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
About 150 sub-Saharan migrants managed to enter Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla on Monday after a group of 250 stormed a barbed-wire border fence, the Spanish Interior Ministry said. Spanish media showed video of those who got over the fence running down the streets of Melilla shouting “Barca, Barca!” as they headed toward a detention centre.
Spain believes negotiation with Britain is the only realistic avenue for a resolution of the claim it makes over Gibraltar and its waters and that only by a decision of the United Nations can decolonization of the Rock be settled.
Britain’s ambassador to Spain has expressed concern about continued queues at the border between Gibraltar and Spain. Speaking to reporters during a visit to the Canary Islands, Simon Manley said the queues were “curious” given Spain’s high unemployment and the fact that many Spanish workers were caught up in the delays.