Question 21 August 2013 D Dodds (NI-DUP)
Subject: Legality of Gibraltar border checks
Earlier this month, Spain announced it was considering imposing a fee of EUR 50 for each vehicle entering and exiting Gibraltar through its border. In the days that have followed, the Spanish authorities have enforced additional checks at the border, allegedly aimed at tackling smuggling, causing unprecedented queues in and out of the British territory.
In this context, can the Commission respond to the following queries:
1. Can the Commission provide its opinion on the legality of the border checks imposed by the Spanish authorities on vehicles and citizens entering and exiting the British territory of Gibraltar, taking into account the recent escalation in activities?
2. What sanctions could the European Union impose on Spain for continued illegal acts at its border with Gibraltar, including any potential border fee, which would jeopardise freedom of movement across the EU?
Answer 2 October 2013 Commissioner Malmström
The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E‐ 009281/2013 by Mr Daniel Hannan.
In addition, the Commission has always made clear that these checks must fully respect EC law and remain proportionate.
Following questions from Honourable Members and complaints from citizens alleging long waiting times at the crossing point of La Línea de la Concepción, the Commission contacted the Spanish authorities to obtain further clarifications. The Spanish authorities replied that the checks are carried out in compliance with EC law, that they are proportionate and that the delays are only occasional. To have a better understanding of the situation on the ground and to be able to finalise its assessment, the Commission is organising a technical visit to the area. The Commission will then decide if further action is necessary.