Gibraltar in EU battle
17 September 2004, BRUSSELS - A compromise between Britain and Spain has left Gibraltar outside the authority of a new agency designed to manage the EU's external borders, it was reported Friday.
17 September 2004
BRUSSELS - A compromise between Britain and Spain has left Gibraltar outside the authority of a new agency designed to manage the EU's external borders, it was reported Friday.
The two European Union members, Spain and Britain, which are at odds over Gibraltar's sovereignty, agreed to "suspend" the territory from the agency's purview to enable it to start operations as planned next year, EU sources said.
The new agency will therefore see its writ extend only to Algeciras in southern Spain when it starts work on protecting the EU's external borders from, for instance, illegal immigrants.
But because of various delays including the Gibraltar question, the European Commission has proposed the agency's launch date be put back from January to May 2005, sources said.
The EU executive has been pressing for years for better coordination among EU members on protecting the bloc's borders, which since the May accession of 10 more countries now stretch up to Russia.
But it was only after the March attacks on trains in Madrid in which 191 people were killed that EU leaders finally gave the agency the green light as part of a raft of anti-terrorism
Gibraltar meanwhile reacted angrily to news of the agreement.
"The British Government has ridden roughshod over all our arguments and pleas not to participate without us," Gibraltar's chief minister Peter Caruana said.
Britain told Gibraltar in July that London had agreed to a limited participation in the European frontiers agency, but without Gibraltar, whose exclusion from the agency Spain had demanded.
According to Caruana, that marks "a complete departure from the position firmly adopted by successive UK governments, including the current UK Government, that as a matter of fundamental principle the UK would not accept any suspension or exclusion of Gibraltar from EU external border measures, including this one."
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news