Spain give in to Gib EC checks

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

SPAIN has agreed to let Euro­pean Com­mis­sion ob­servers to its bor­der with Gi­bral­tar to as­sess the le­gal­ity of checks on traf­fic that have caused a diplo­matic row with Bri­tain.

The Com­mis­sion said Span­ish prime min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy had agreed to al­low a team in “as soon as pos­si­ble” in a tele­phone call with Pres­i­dent Jose Manuel Bar­roso to dis­cuss the dis­pute.

Three Royal Navy ships, led by fri­gate HMS West­min­ster, ar­rived at the Bri­tish Over­seas Ter­ri­tory for a rou­tine stopover yes­ter­day as Down­ing Street de­clined to rule out re­tal­ia­tory po­lit­i­cal ac­tion against Spain if the dis­agree­ment was not re­solved quickly.

A con­tro­ver­sial ar­ti­fi­cial reef off Gi­bral­tar sparked the dis­agree­ment and led to bor­der checks, which have meant hours of delays for peo­ple cross­ing into Gi­bral­tar.

Fabian Pi­cardo, the Gi­bral­tar­ian chief min­is­ter, said: “The of­fi­cious­ness of what is go­ing on now is clearly di­rected po­lit­i­cally, and it’s quite un­fair as it’s be­ing vis­ited on in­no­cent peo­ple who need to cross.”

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