• Spain responsible for delays for cross-frontier workers
• New measures introduced at border by Spain
• Gibraltar reluctantly implemented reciprocal measures in response to Spanish escalation
His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar wishes to clarify its position as to the issues involved in the recent tensions at the border leading to heavy queues.
Citizens of both Gibraltar and Spain have been subjected to lengthy queues at the border throughout the month of August as a result of the actions of the Spanish authorities.
Whilst queues were experienced sporadically throughout, on 24th August new measures were introduced without prior warning which involved the scanning of a significant number of passports, including those held by Gibraltar resident red card holders and some Spanish nationals. The Government says it understands that some ID cards were also scanned. These actions quickly led to the build-up of long queues that inconvenienced tourists and cross-frontier workers.
Further changes were implemented yesterday, with officials claiming that Gibraltar had been given fifteen days’ warning. The measures involved the separation of 4-wheeled vehicles and 2-wheeled vehicles, causing severe delays at rush hour for workers crossing into Gibraltar, the majority of whom are Spanish nationals. Gibraltar was asked to guide vehicles into separate lanes following the Spanish measure. This was physically impossible and would have put Gibraltar immigration officials at risk. His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar is amenable to new traffic flow arrangements to separate two-wheel vehicles from cars, as Gibraltar already does (and has done for years) in its own queuing area (known as the loop). Govt says that such changes to traffic flow must be subject to cross frontier consultation and agreement, not imposition. In seeking to act in a manner that did not pursue proper consultation, the relevant Spanish authorities acted in a manner that caused the problems experienced yesterday. Gibraltar now looks forward to working with the relevant Spanish authorities to establish a new, mutually beneficial traffic flow system.
In response, Gibraltar has reluctantly started reciprocal, ad hoc, scanning of non-UK citizens’ documentation.
His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar has denied reports in the Spanish media that it is responsible for the long queues and delays.