European Commission admits it has ‘no power to interfere in territorial dispute’ between Spain and UK over Gibraltar - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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European Commission admits it has ‘no power to interfere in territorial dispute’ between Spain and UK over Gibraltar

Thursday, 30 August 2012
The European Commission has admitted that it has no powers to intervene in the ongoing dispute over the territory of Gibraltar, heightened in recent months with the standoffs at sea between Gibraltarian law enforcement agencies and the Guardia Civil.

One of Gibraltar’s MEPs, Conservative Ashley Fox, decided to table a Parliamentary question to the Commission on the matter in which he described the Guardia Civil incursions as “a deliberate provocation” before urging the Commission to step in.

Maria Damanaki, the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, has now responded on behalf of the Commission to Mr Fox’s question in a manner that is best described as ‘short and sweet’:

“The incidents evoked in this question have their origin in a territorial dispute between Spain and the UK in which the Commission has no powers to intervene.”

Those 27 words took more than two months to arrive and unfortunately do raise rather more questions on how the European Commission will be able to tackle the ongoing disputes between Gibraltar and Spain – two EU territories – which occur across many disciplines. For example: overlapping environmental protection areas, cases of seemingly premeditated vandalism, and restrictions on the free movement of citizens with lengthy delays often reported at the border.

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