UK disputes European Commission's Gibraltar row decision

UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office: "We continue to believe that Spain has acted unlawfully and we will continue to provide evidence of that to the Commission".

UK disputes European Commission's Gibraltar row decision

World Bulletin / News Desk

"We continue to believe that Spain has acted unlawfully and we will continue to provide evidence of that to the European Commission," the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in regards to the Gibraltar row between Spain and the UK.

FCO's statement came following the European Commission's decision on Friday that "border checks by Spain at its border with Gibraltar did not break EU laws."

Tension rose between the UK and Spain over the former British colony of Gibraltar a few months ago as Spain imposed strict border controls with the British territory after a row over the creation by Gibraltar of an artificial reef in disputed waters.

The UK asked Spanish authorities to halt increased security searches on vehicles which caused major delays for tourists and locals in August and, following its complaints to the European Commission, the EU assessed the legality of the checks in September.

The FCO statement said they welcomed the fact that the Commission has put Spain on notice, but stressed they would continue to believe that Spain had acted unlawfully, while also providing evidence to that effect to the Commission.

Tensions started escalating between the two countries with allegations that the rights of Spanish fishermen fishing off Gibraltar had been infringed upon. Gibraltarian authorities stated they were trying to protect the marine life by placing large concrete reefs, but Spanish authorities argued that fishing was being blocked by the British territory's concrete reefs.

Two referendums in the past 50 years

At least 30,000 people reside in Gibraltar, which has been a British territory for about 300 years. Moreover, a 6.7 km long rocky outcrop on its southern tip causes occasional disputes of whether it belongs to Spain or the UK.

With the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, Spain gave Gibraltar back to the UK. In the 1950s, Spanish General Francisco Franco, arguing that Gibraltar was under Spanish dominion, closed Spain's Gibraltar border for 13 years. With two referendums held in 1967 and 2002, the people of Gibraltar were asked whether they were "wishing to remain under the sovereignty of Britain or not," with the majority preferring to remain British territory.

Last Mod: 15 Kasım 2013, 17:04
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