Conservative MEP Ashley Fox
has called for a team of officials from the European Commission to be immediately dispatched to Gibraltar’s border crossing to conduct a detailed assessment of Spain’s ‘interference
The European Commission has already agreed to the principle of sending a team of investigators to the Rock, but has intimated that this might not take place until late September, or even October.
“The Commission has a duty to ensure that Spain abides by its obligations under the EU’s treaties - that is its role. Specifically it must protect the free movement of people. Waiting a possible eight weeks before putting their team in place is unacceptable,” Mr Fox told the Gibraltar Chronicle. “We need the EU to act quickly and put a stop to this latest heavy handed Spanish approach to border control.”
While acknowledging Spain’s right to protect and police its own borders, Mr Fox said that the searches and other delays are nothing to do with crime or immigration and everything to do with causing inconvenience to Gibraltarians: “They have no legitimate purpose, only to cause mischief. The Spanish Foreign Minister’s inflammatory remarks at the weekend are sufficient evidence of that,
” he said.
“I have also spoken directly to UK Foreign Minister of State, Hugo Swire MP, to express my concern about what the people of Gibraltar have been enduring. He has assured me that whilst the British Government regards the Spanish actions as unfriendly, un-European and wholly unacceptable, it is doing everything it can through diplomatic channels to ease tensions and stop the dangerous rhetoric coming out of Madrid.
Mr Fox's call echos that of fellow Gibraltar MEP Sir Graham Watson
, who wrote to the President of the European Commission last week
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