Madrid loses appeal against EU votes for Gibraltarians

12th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 September 2006, LUXEMBOURG — Spain has lost its appeal against citizens of Gibraltar being allowed to vote in European parliament elections, the EU court ruled on Tuesday.

12 September 2006

LUXEMBOURG — Spain has lost its appeal against citizens of Gibraltar being allowed to vote in European parliament elections, the EU court ruled on Tuesday.

Britain had granted residents of Gibraltar the right to vote in EU elections, but this was challenged by Spain.

The court in Luxembourg ruled: "It is for the member states to define the persons who are to be entitled to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament."

It also rejected a Spanish claim that it was illegal to join Gibraltar with the existing EU constituency of Southwest England for European elections.

Spain, which contests Britain's rule of Gibraltar, launched the case last year after British law changed in 2003 to enable Gibraltarians to vote in European polls.

The change also allowed Commonwealth citizens of the colony to vote.

Though residents from the Commwealth make up only a small part of Gibraltar's population of 18,000, Britain claimed other people living in the UK could be affected if the EU tribunal ruled against the British position.

This year, Spain's ruling socialist government has pursued a softer line on the Rock than previous administrations in Madrid.

Next week Spain, Britain and the authorities in Gibraltar are to seal a historic deal over the colony, which will see greater cooperation over its airport, pension rights for former Spanish workers and better telecommunications between the Rock and Spain.

But Spain has not given up its claim to the colony, which it ceeded to Britain in 1713.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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