On 11 February, Spanish Green MEP Iñaki Irazabalbeitia Fernández
submitted a written question to the European Commission
in which he asked: “What is the status of Gibraltar with respect to the European Union?
” adding “Does the Commission intend to clarify the situation to the Spanish authorities? If so, in what respect?
Two months later and the reply has arrived, from the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso himself. His reply in full
, not answering the final two part questions:
"The European Union does not dispose of a territory in the way states do. The European Union is founded on the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) which provide for a territorial scope of application (Articles 52 TEU and 355 TFEU).
By virtue of Article 52(1) TEU, the treaties apply to the Member States. By virtue of Article 355(3) TFEU, the treaties apply as well to European territories for whose external relations a Member State is responsible; Gibraltar is considered to be such a territory.
"As a consequence, European law applies in principle to Gibraltar. However, it is not part of the customs territory of the Union (Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013), and Union legislation in the areas of the common agricultural policy, the common fisheries policy and the common system of the value added tax does not apply to Gibraltar (Article 28 of the 1972 Act of Accession)."