• Spain's news in English

Cameron calls for EU check at Gibraltar border

AFP · 17 Aug 2013, 10:21

Published: 17 Aug 2013 10:21 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In Brussels, the Commission, or EU executive, confirmed the telephone call but underlined that the quarrel between Britain and Spain would best be sorted between the two European Union nations.

A row has broken out between London and Madrid over the British outpost after Spain introduced stringent border checks which have led to waits of up to five hours for motorists trying to enter the British-held territory.

Gibraltar has accused Madrid of imposing the checks in retaliation for its decision to drop concrete blocks into the sea to create a reef for fish at the mouth of the Mediterranean.

A Downing Street spokesman said that in his call Cameron complained that the border checks are "politically motivated and disproportionate" and called for the European Commission to send a monitoring team to the border "urgently" to collate evidence.

The EU has said it will send observers to Gibraltar in September, but Cameron said they should be sent now.

A statement issued in Brussels said that "President Barroso explained that the Commission is continuously monitoring the situation and will do what is in its competence to ensure respect of EU law."

It added: "President Barroso also expects that this matter is addressed between the two countries concerned in a way that is in line with their common membership in the EU."

The Downing Street spokesman said Cameron called Barroso "to raise serious concerns that additional border checks introduced by the Spanish at the Spain-Gibraltar border are politically motivated and disproportionate, and therefore contrary to the EU right of free movement.

"The PM made clear that we would prefer to resolve this issue through political dialogue. Consequently, both the PM and the Foreign Secretary (William Hague) had called their Spanish counterparts to try to find a way to de-escalate the issue."

Cameron told Barroso that Britain had also proposed "ad-hoc talks" involving the government of Gibraltar to find a solution. Britain had announced on Monday that it was considering legal action against Spain over the border checks.

The British government is now "collating evidence on the sporadic nature of these measures which would prove that they are illegitimate," Cameron's spokesman said.

Story continues below…

"We believe that the European Commission, as guardian of the treaties, should investigate the issue and the PM called on President Barroso to send an EU monitoring team to the Gibraltar-Spain border urgently to gather evidence of the checks that are being carried out," he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was to call his Spanish counterpart Soraya Saenz de Santamaria later Friday to reiterate Britain's concerns.

A British naval frigate is due to dock in Gibraltar on Monday before taking part in a naval exercise in the Mediterranean which London insists was planned long before the latest row broke out.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Brazilian suspect in grisly Madrid murder turns self in
Marcos Campos Nogueira is the chief suspect in the murder of a married couple and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil/Twitter

A Brazilian teenager suspected of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain has turned himself in to police.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
jobs available