Question 10 February 2015 Julie Girling and Ashley Fox (ECR-Con)
Subject: Gibraltar civil aviation measures
The Government of Spain entered into an agreement with the governments of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar in 2006 under which they committed not to seeking the exclusion of Gibraltar Airport from EU civil aviation measures. In 2011 the current Spanish Government decided to dishonour what had previously been agreed and broke the agreement by once again seeking the exclusion of Gibraltar Airport from a number of measures. Gibraltar is a part of the European Union and its people are EU citizens. Spain is seeking the exclusion of Gibraltar Airport from EU air passenger rights legislation.
Does the Commission accept that this would create a discriminatory regime by which EU citizens flying through Gibraltar Airport would enjoy fewer rights, fewer benefits and less protection than those travelling through other airports in the European Union?
Is this discriminatory proposal to exclude Gibraltar Airport and reduce the rights of air passengers travelling to and from Gibraltar Airport not against everything that Europe stands for?
Answer 28 April 2015 Commissioner Bulc
Some EU regulations on civil aviation matters contain, in relation to the Gibraltar airport, the so-called pre-2006 clause, while others contain the so-called post-2006 or do not contain any clause regarding Gibraltar at all.
According to the pre-2006 clause,
1. The application of this regulation to the airport of Gibraltar is understood to be without prejudice to the respective legal positions of the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom with regard to the dispute over sovereignty over the territory in which the airport is situated.
2. Application of this regulation to Gibraltar airport shall be suspended until the arrangements included in the Joint Declaration made by the Foreign Ministers of the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom on 2 December 1987 enter into operation. The Governments of Spain and the United Kingdom will inform the Council of such date of entry into operation.
According to the post-2006 clause,
The application of this measure to the airport of Gibraltar is understood to be without prejudice to the respective legal positions of the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom with regard to the dispute over sovereignty over the territory in which the airport is situated.
As expressed in the answer to the QP E-007596/2014(1), the Commission regrets that, since 2012, the Gibraltar issue has caused delay to the consideration of the different legislative files by the Council. The Commission supports any solution that can unblock pending files and is compliant with EC law.
(1) Available at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/parliamentary-questions.html