SW and Gibraltar’s MEP hits out at unacceptable comments by Spanish Minister

August 5, 2013 4:14 PM

Gibraltar flag Sir Graham Watson, the Liberal Democrat MEP who represents the British Territory of Gibraltar in the European Parliament, has today condemned the comments made by Spain's Foreign Minister Mr Garcia-Margallo at the weekend. He has raised the issue with EU Commission President Barroso, calling for Barroso to intervene personally. A copy of the letter is attached.

On Sunday the Spanish Minister suggested the introduction of a new 50 euro fee for crossing the Spanish-Gibraltar Frontier. Sir Graham has pointed out that this would be contrary to EU law.

"I am deeply concerned by Sr Margallo's latest comments, which follow months of harassment of my constituents by the Spanish government. The people of Gibraltar are as much EU citizens as those of Spain. As such, they have the clear legal right not to be discriminated against on the basis of where they are from; nor should their freedom of movement be restricted.

"I have raised concerns about Spanish harassment with various European Commissioners in recent months, in many cases in the presence of Ministers from the Government of Gibraltar. I have asked the Commission to send observers to monitor the situation at the frontier. I have also raised in Parliament the case of shots being fired by Guardia Civil officers at one of my constituents riding a jet ski of the western beach.

"Today I have written to EU Commission President Barroso highlighting recent incidents and the Minister's remarks and asked for his personal intervention to stop such objectionable behaviour by an EU Government bullying EU citizens.

" The European Commission must remind Madrid of its obligations under EU law. This type of behaviour is something typical of a bygone age."

Sir Graham went on to comment:

"Moreover, Madrid needs to remember that the economies of the Rock and the Spanish hinterlands of Campo de Gibraltar are inextricably linked. Business in Gibraltar is worth hundreds of millions to an already fragile Spanish economy."