29th July 2013
Spain's provocative efforts to intimidate and cut off Gibraltar are unacceptable, Gibraltar's Conservative MEPs said today after Spanish authorities engineered six hour queues at the border crossing with Spain this weekend.
Giles Chichester, Julie Girling and Ashley Fox said the people of Gibraltar will not be intimidated by the ongoing escalation of tensions initiated and sustained by Spanish authorities.
In recent months, a Spanish police boat opened fire on a jet skier in British waters, patrol boats launch incursions into British waters, and military jets 'buzz' the Rock. Spanish fishermen also recently attempted to disrupt efforts to create an artificial reef in the Bay of Gibraltar.
However, the latest move - checking documentation and searching every vehicle on or off the territory - was a deliberate effort to bring Gibraltar to a standstill, which reneges on the 2006 Cordoba tripartite agreement that agreed a relaxation of border checks.
The British government has asked for an explanation regarding the jet skier incident, and it has protested over the recent escalation.
The Conservative MEPs - who represent South West England and Gibraltar - will write to the European Commission asking for them to threaten legal action against Spain unless it desists its efforts to intimidate and impede the movement of EU workers.
They said: "Spain's provocative escalation of tensions with Gibraltar is unacceptable.
“Gibraltarians will not be intimidated by Spain, whose troubled government seems to be launching these aggressive actions in a desperate attempt to distract from its domestic problems.
"Gibraltar has repeatedly voted to remain British. Does Spain think it will achieve anything by these petulant actions that are not befitting of a fellow EU Member State?
"If the Spanish authorities continue impeding the movement of workers to and from Gibraltar then we believe the European Commission should launch legal action against them. Some border checks are understandable but we will not accept such clear efforts to disrupt Gibraltar's economy and cause people distress.
“What the Spanish authorities don’t seem to realise is that they are making their own people suffer most by this spiteful action. It is all the Spanish people who want to go to work in Gibraltar who suffer the most. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your own face.”