Falklands : GIBRALTAR ROW BAIT AND SWITCH OVER ECONOMIC ISSUES
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 13.08.2013 (Article Archived on 10.09.2013)
The Prime Minister, said a spokesman, was very disappointed by Spain's failure to remove the checks over the weekend. But for Falkland Islanders this masking is deja vu
ROW BAIT AND SWITCH OVER ECONOMIC ISSUES
A statement from Downing Street on Monday said that the UK is
considering legal action against Spain for frustrating and thwarting motorists and
trade at the border between Spain and Gibraltar. The Prime Minister, said a spokesman, was
very disappointed by Spain's failure to remove the checks over the weekend. But for Falkland Islanders this masking is
When the spokesman added that legal action through the EU would be
unprecedented and the Spanish government, which has said its checks are
essential to stop smuggling, said it would not relax border controls, Islanders
felt that the bravado was more emotional bait and switch than a dragnet for
cigarette smugglers. He went on to say
that it is not
clear what the legal options were, the spokesman added, saying it would be up
to the EU to explain any possible sanctions but I hope they take into account
Spain’s economy and double digit unemployment figures before coming to a final
Yes, Britain could eventually
take a case to the European Court of Justice. But we know that Gibraltar is a British overseas territory and part of
the EU. However, border checks are permitted because neither Britain nor
Gibraltar are part of the Schengen group of countries which have ended border checks. Unwarranted
and excessive could be illegal would be an unprecedented step so I am sure HMG
would consider it carefully before a making a decision to pursue.
On the other hand, Spain has a mandate to police the border and insists
its controls were legal and proportionate and was considering taking the
dispute to the UN Security Council, where it could seek Argentine support.
There were similarities between the Falklands and Gibraltar disputes and
issues to be raised at the UN could include disputed waters, Britain's failure
to comply with previous UN resolutions and the disputed stretch of land which
links Gibraltar and Spain. One of those
similarities is the 1982 invasion of the Falklands where the euphoria masked an
impossible Argentine economy. We trust
that things won’t get that bad in Spain.
Gibraltar’s creation of an artificial reef to attract marine life caused
an argument because the Spanish say it will destroy fishing in the area. As a result Madrid stepped up border
controls, causing traffic queues, and a threatened 50 euro (£43) fee to be
levied against every vehicle entering or leaving the British territory.
Spain's actions "disproportionate and politically motivated,” said
the Downing street spokesman. "If
we go down this route, we would press upon the EU the need to pursue this with
a matter of urgency," he continued.
Ashley Fox, Conservative MEP, representing south-west England and
Gibraltar, said that Spain's actions were motivated by political and economic
weaknesses in the country, not a "fishing dispute" with Gibraltar and
"harassing" Gibraltar was intended to take public focus in Spain off
HMS Westminster is due to visit Gibraltar before heading for the Middle
East but the British Overseas Territory has been spared erroneous reports of a nuclear
sub that were touted when the Falklands began the second hydrocarbons
exploration round in 2010.
The European Commission said it would send a team of monitors to the border
to examine the situation, but they are not expected to arrive until next month
Drivers in Gibraltar have reported waiting up to seven hours at the
border in recent weeks, with the longest queues forming at weekends when
Gibraltarians with property in Spain and Spanish Citizens with property in
Gibraltar go their separate ways. Ditto for those who reside and work in different jurisdictions.
Perhaps the philosophy should be applied to Britain and Spain over