Pregunta de Ashley Fox (ECR-Con) , Julie Girling (ECR-Con) , Giles Chichester (ECR-Con)
Respuesta de la Comisaria Malmström
Question 15 January 2014 Ashley Fox (ECR-Con) , Julie Girling (ECR-Con) , Giles Chichester (ECR-Con)
Subject: Monitoring of border crossings at the Gibraltarian/Spanish frontier
On15 November 2013, the Commission presented the conclusions of its investigation into the events at the Spain/Gibraltar border. The Commission commented in its letter to the Spanish Government that the actions by the Spanish authorities had created a bottleneck effect, as six queues of traffic waiting to pass through the border were funnelled into one single lane. The Spanish Government was asked to streamline its border‐crossing procedures, improve the infrastructure available to do so, increase the number of lanes available and adopt a more intelligence driven investigative method in combating crossborder smuggling. Spain was even offered funds to help meet the costs of improving its border facilities.
We are now two months on from these conclusions and residents in Gibraltar are still suffering from unnecessary queues and random harassment. There seems to be little activity or desire to improve matters on the Spanish side of the border. By contrast, the Gibraltarian authorities have already announced that they will carry out outbound tobacco checks in an effort to implement the Commission’s recommendations. I would therefore like to know the following:
1. What steps is the Commission taking to monitor the ongoing situation?
2. Has the Spanish Government submitted any proposals to improve its border‐crossing activities?
3. How much money has been made available to the Spanish Government to improve its facilities?
4. Will the Commission be sending a followup investigative team to the frontier to monitor progress? If so, when is the team due to be sent or will this be carried out in secret?
5. By what date would the Commission expect progress to be made concerning its recommendations?
Answer 7 March 2014 Commissioner Malmström
In the meantime the Spanish authorities committed to improve the management of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, the infrastructure and the equipment at the crossing point of La Línea de la Concepción. These investments could be supported with EU Funds. Under the Internal Security Fund (Border and Visa Instrument), Spain was allocated with 195 million euros for the period of 20142020. The Spanish authorities can include the relevant actions improving bordercrossing activities at the Spanish/Gibraltar border in its Internal Security Fund multiannual programme. So far, Spain has not submitted its draft ISF programme. At the same time, Spain can also foresee the revision of the ongoing 2013 annual programme of the External Borders Fund. However, the Commission has not received so far any request in this respect.
As already announced, after the expiration of the six month deadline, the Commission will assess the situation again. It will pay particular attention on how its recommendations have been taken into consideration by the authorities of Spain and of the United Kingdom. The Commission reserves the right to pay another visit to the border if appropriate.
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