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Parliamentary questions
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16 October 2012
Question for written answer E-009409-12
to the Commission
Rule 117
Charles Tannock (ECR) , Ashley Fox (ECR)

 Subject:  Problems at the border between Gibraltar and Spain
 Answer in writing 

A UK resident of Gibraltarian origin has alleged in writing that the Spanish Government has recently stepped up local border go-slow measures against residents of Gibraltar. Current delays at the frontier exceed five or six hours and would, if deliberately imposed, constitute a breach by Spain of the EU principle of freedom of movement of persons, with potentially serious ramifications. Gibraltar’s roads are being blocked by these queues, which are clogging up the territory’s already limited road network. This means, for instance, that emergency services are unable to move as freely as before these restrictions were applied, which could unnecessarily put people’s lives at risk in the case of a fire or accident. A gridlocked road system will also inevitably have longer-term implications for the economy.

Around 8 000-12 000 people (many of them Spanish citizens) cross into Gibraltar every day to work and these people are being forced to endure hours of queuing both into and out of Gibraltar. As well as economic consequences, there will be environmental and air quality consequences due to static or slow-flowing traffic.

Is the Commission aware of any recent downturn in relations between Spain and Gibraltar? Can it investigate whether these allegations are a deliberate attempt by Spain to make life more difficult for Gibraltarians and therefore constitute economic sanctions against the territory of another Member State (the UK)? Will it raise these concerns with the Government of the Kingdom of Spain?

 OJ C 329 E, 13/11/2013
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