La Treizième Étoile: 23/12/12 - 30/12/12 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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BREAKING: Three British MEPs honoured in 2013 New Year's Honours List

Saturday, 29 December 2012
Three British MEPs feature among the names recommended to The Queen for an award in this year’s New Year’s Honours list (pdf) which was made public a short while ago at midnight.

Congratulations are therefore in order to: (in alphabetical order)

Michael Cashman (Labour, West Midlands) has been awarded a CBE for public and political service. An MEP since 1999, the former EastEnders actor is co-President of the European Parliament's Intergroup for LGBT Rights and is continuously campaigning for inclusive legislation, horizontal non-discrimination frameworks. For his work, he was twice awarded the title of MEP of the year (2007 and 2012) and received the European Diversity Lifetime Achievement Award (2012). He will not stand for re-election in 2014.

Fiona Hall (Liberal Democrat, North East) has been awarded an MBE for public and political service. First elected in 2004, she is the current leader of the Liberal Democrat group in the European Parliament. She will not stand for re-election in 2014.

Malcolm Harbour (Conservative, West Midlands) has been awarded a CBE for services to the UK Economy. An MEP since 1999, he is the current Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and in September 2010 was voted Internal Market MEP of the Year.

They are not the first sitting MEPs to be conveyed honours however: in June 2011, Graham Watson, the sole Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West, was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s annual Birthday Honours. Conservative MEP Sir Robert Atkins received a knighthood in 1997, two years before entering the European Parliament.

Governor of Gibraltar laments 'deeply frustrating' challenges to Rock's sovereignty in 2012 Christmas message

Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Sir Adrian Johns, Governor of GibraltarIn what he describes as "almost certainly" his final Christmas message in the post, the Governor of Gibraltar Sir Adrian Johns has recalled the joyous events of 2012 including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Royal visit to the Rock and addressed the challenges to Gibraltarian sovereignty by Spain which he called “deeply frustrating”.

He said:

There have been so many good things to celebrate in this Diamond Jubilee year but it is deeply frustrating that at the same time we have had to deal with so many challenges to our sovereignty from our Spanish neighbours. Illegal fishing activity and incursions into our waters by Spanish state vessels have been a persistent theme through most of the year and have made heavy demands on our security and law enforcement agencies. The main burden has fallen on the shoulders of those at the operational end who have had to handle and are still handling incidents on the water and I pay tribute to the manner in which they have conducted their duties.

On the royal visit of their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex in June:

The Royal couple were a joy to host and they so clearly relished every moment of their time in Gibraltar showing a real desire to meet and speak with as many people as possible. And the Royal visit couldn’t have come at a better time for Gibraltar to reaffirm our sovereignty and our loyalty to the Queen in the most high profile, public manner. The sheer passion of Gibraltar’s demonstration of its British sovereignty seemed to me to speak as loudly as any referendum.

Full text of the Governor of Gibraltar’s Christmas message can be read here.

European Commission has ‘no indications’ of excessive checks by Spain at Gibraltar border

Sunday, 23 December 2012
The European Commission has revealed that it has ‘no indications’ that Spain is deliberately carrying out undue checks on those crossing the Spain-Gibraltar border for work, which would restrict their right to free movement.

The reply, from European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, came in response to a parliamentary question (P-010225/2012) tabled in October by South West Conservative MEP Ashley Fox.

She said: “Gibraltar is neither part of the area without internal border controls nor of the customs territory of the European Union. Checks on people and goods are therefore carried out at its border with Spain. Under the Schengen Borders Code, all people entering and exiting the Schengen area, including those enjoying the Union right of free movement, should undergo a minimum check to establish their identities on the basis of the production or presentation of their travel documents. This should normally consist of a rapid and straightforward verification.

While efficient border management should allow for the smooth flow of legitimate trade and movement of people, border checks may involve delays affecting traffic and travellers. The Commission has no indications that Spain is deliberately carrying out undue checks on those crossing the border for work, which would restrict their right to free movement.

The Governnent at Gibraltar recently installed a webcam at the border so that visitors to the website could monitor the current state of traffic flow and warmly welcomed an offer from the European Commission to facilitate technical talks between Gibraltar, Spain and the UK on the practical operation and resolution of lengthy delays frequently experienced at the border with Spain.


Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.