MEPs question "deeply disappointing" findings of EU Gib report

15-Nov-2013 @ 16:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

The Conservative MEPs representing Gibraltar todayresponded to the publication by the EU Commission of a report from itsinspectors sent to monitor problems at the border crossing with Spain.

The Commission sent the team of officials after hugetailbacks were created at the frontier checkpoint because of the actions ofSpanish border police. Gibraltar authorities said there was clear evidenceSpain was deliberately engineering the hold-ups to create aggravation for theRock's citizens and for workers who cross the border to work there.

The report published today, however, says Spain has notbroken EU law.

Specifically it declares that "on the basis of itsobservations during this technical visit and of the information provided byboth authorities, the Commission has not found evidence to conclude that thechecks on persons and goods as operated by the Spanish authorities at thecrossing point of La Línea de la Concepción have infringed the relevantprovisions of Union law.

"The management of this crossing point isnevertheless challenging, in view of the heavy traffic volumes in a relativelyconfined space and the increase in tobacco smuggling into Spain. The Commissionbelieves that the authorities on both sides could take further measures tobetter address these challenges, and is addressing three recommendations toboth Member States.

Giles Chichester, Ashley Fox and Julie Girling,Conservative MEPs for the South West and Gibraltar, issued a statementdescribing the findings as "deeply disappointing and questionable".

They said: "It seems likely that Spain haseffectively behaved itself for the time the inspectors were there. This is notsurprising...the law rarely gets broken when the police are around.

"Of course the conclusion is deeply disappointingand we do not believe that this questionable report reflects adequately whathas happened there. In effect, this inspection has failed.

"We now insist that the Commission must continuemonitoring what happens at this crossing, but in future we believe theinspectors should work discreetly and unannounced."

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