Question 18 October 2013 G Chichester (ECR-Con)
Subject: Gibraltar-Spain border
Following the visit of EU inspectors to the GibraltarSpain border, several incidents in which innocent Gibraltarians have been harassed by the Spanish authorities have again occurred.
Will the Commission continue to monitor the situation at the border between Gibraltar and Spain? Does the Commission intend to take any action against the Spanish authorities who are hindering the free movement of EU citizens in and out of Gibraltar?
Answer 6 December 2013 Commissioner Malmström
On the basis of the observations during the technical visit of 25 September 2013 at the crossing point of La Línea de la Concepción and of the information provided by both authorities on that occasion, the Commission has not found evidence to conclude that the checks on persons and goods as operated by Spain at the border with Gibraltar have infringed the relevant provisions of Union law.
The management of this crossing point is nevertheless challenging, in view of the heavy traffic volumes in a relatively confined space and the increase in cigarette smuggling into Spain. The Commission believes that the authorities on both sides could take further measures to better address these challenges. Hence, it addressed recommendations to both authorities with a view to develop the mutual exchange of information on tobacco smuggling, to optimise the risk based profiling at the border and the physical space on the Spanish side of the crossing point.
The Commission will continue to monitor the situation at this crossing point and asked to receive information from both authorities within six months on how the recommendations have been taken into consideration. The Commission reserves the right to reconsider its position should the situation change or evolve and also to pay another visit to this crossing point if appropriate in the future.