Lb Dem MEP Watson Welcomes Commission Move on Gibraltar

August 22, 2013 5:07 PM

Sir Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for Gibraltar, has welcomed the decision by the European Commission to send monitors to the Spanish-Gibraltar border.

Watson wrote to European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso a fortnight ago calling for officials to be sent to the rock to monitor the "harassment" of Gibraltarians crossing the border by the Spanish.

Under European Union customs rules, officials are entitled to carry out checks to vehicles and people that are "proportionate to the threat". However, Watson and the Gibraltarian government believe the checks go beyond this, prompting calls for Spain to be taken to the European Court of Justice.

Sir Graham commented,

"I am pleased that the Commission president has heeded my call for monitors. Something that I have been calling for since the spring. These politically motivated checks are unwarranted and must be brought to a halt.

"Spain's actions are nothing short of harassment. The residents of Gibraltar have every right to cross the border under EU law.

"But this cannot just be a token response. I am asking President Barroso to ensure the mandate of these monitors is extended until Spain agree to only carry out checks that are proportionate to the threat posed. Anything short of this is unacceptable.