EU technical inspection visit to Gibraltar border ‘went well’; report expected to take months - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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EU technical inspection visit to Gibraltar border ‘went well’; report expected to take months

Sunday, 29 September 2013
The European Commission confirmed on Thursday that six European Union inspectors have completed a technical fact-finding mission to Gibraltar and the neighbouring Spanish town of La Linea, and it will now analyse the findings.

"[The mission] went well from our point of view," EU Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly told reporters in the daily midday briefing. "I can't give you a timetable for concluding our analysis, or what form it will take, it depends on the content of our conclusions."

On Thursday, Miguel Puente Pattison, a spokesperson for the visiting delegation, suggested the results would take months, adding that given the political sensitivities, ‘it is better that the EU carries out the investigation well, even if it takes time’. He added that "authorities on both sides of the border are collaborating fully and there is no interest in hiding anything because that eventually will be counter-productive.

During the mission on Wednesday, the inspectors conducted an on-site inspection, observed immigration and customs procedures, and held meetings with Gibraltar authorities. According to reports, there was a two hour queue of vehicles to come into Gibraltar at that time and this was seen by the visitors. Afterwards, the fact-finding mission went to the Spanish side of the border in Linea de la Conception to meet with representatives from the foreign, finances and interior ministries.

The team was made up of experts from the European Commission services for Home Affairs, Customs Union, Justice and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

"The delegation will look at installations and checks carried out at the entry and exit of persons and goods on both sides of the border as well as issues related to alleged smuggling," read the European Commission press release prior to the visit.

Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo said he hoped the inspectors' visit would offer a solution to the situation at the border. He added he planned to provide the team with any requested documents and allow them access to all areas needed for their work, and insisted Gibraltar had “nothing to hide”.

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