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Question 29 August 2013 M Tarabella (S&D-PS)
Subject: Gibraltar — Spain against the United Kingdom
The authorities in Gibraltar, a British territory, have sunk concrete blocks off the coast, forming an artificial reef and resulting in a diplomatic row between Spain and the United Kingdom. Spain maintains that this is impeding fishing. Since then, there have been long queues at the border between Spain and Gibraltar, with Gibraltar immediately accusing Spain of stepping up checks by way of reprisals.
The Spanish Government has reaffirmed that it will not abandon the checks, claiming that they are both mandatory (since neither Spain nor the United Kingdom is a member of the Schengen Area) and necessary (in order to combat smuggling, especially tobacco smuggling).
It is regrettable that recent diplomatic efforts have failed.
1. Is the Commission, as the guardian of the Treaties, intending to investigate?
2. What action can the Commission take to settle this dispute?
3. Can a decision be taken as quickly as possible so as to prevent the crisis from worsening, since that would benefit the eurosceptics’ cause?
Answer 4 October 2013 Commissioner Malmström
The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answers to Written Question E‐ 009281/2013 by Mr Daniel Hannan and E009591/2013 by Mrs. Diane Dodds.