5th August 2013

The three Conservative MEPs representing Gibraltar today accused Spain of "desperation and recklessness" over its increasingly outlandish threats against the British territory and its citizens.

Giles Chichester, Ashley Fox and Julie Girling spoke out after Spain issued a series of menacing proposals, including the imposition of a €50 charge to cross the border, and the closure of Spanish airspace to Gibraltar flights.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Margallo summarised his list of aggressive proposals with the high-handed warning: "The party's over."

The three MEPs, whose constituency is the South West and Gibraltar, responded with a joint statement:

"It is clear this posturing and chest-beating is an act of desperation and recklessness.

"The Spanish Government faces so many problems domestically that it is desperate to create a diversion. A bout of sabre-rattling at Gibraltar provides the perfect distraction. The Spanish papers love it and it keeps Premier Rajoy's calamitous difficulties off the front pages.

"As responsible parliamentarians, however, we wish to remind Spain that this kind of megaphone diplomacy should have ended with General Franco. It has no place in a modern Europe and does a disservice to the people of modern Spain.

"It also flies in the face of all the rules on the free movement of people and goods which are at the heart of the European Union and the single market.

"If they think such a boorish rant will advance their case one iota, they are wrong. We and the people of Gibraltar will be resolute against such bullying."

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