Spain takes Britain to court over Gibraltar vote
5 July 2005, LUXEMBOURG — Spain is accusing the UK of acting illegally in making Gibraltar a part of the south-west of England region at the last European Parliament elections.
5 July 2005
LUXEMBOURG — Spain is accusing the UK of acting illegally in making Gibraltar a part of the south-west of England region at the last European Parliament elections.
It has taken the case to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the BBC reported.
The UK said Gibraltar was added to a larger region to ensure its residents had the right to vote despite it being too small to have its own Euro MP.
Spain says Gibraltarians could have voted without being linked to a UK region. A verdict is due next year.
The territory, which has fewer than 20,000 voters, joined the rest of the south-west's 3.8 million-strong electorate in last summer's European elections.
The British government says its action was the only way to fulfil a European Human Rights Court decision in 1999 that residents of Gibraltar must have a vote in the European Parliament elections.
Spain complains that it was illegal for Gibraltar to be included in the south-west region for the elections.
It also argues that UK election law breaks EU rules by allowing Commonwealth citizens who live in the UK to vote in European elections, even if there are not EU citizens.
The verdict on that part of the Spanish case could have an impact on Commonwealth citizens right to vote in European elections even if they do not live in Gibraltar.
The UK has held Gibraltar since 1704. Spain ceded sovereignty in 1713 but has repeated claims to the territory at its southern tip.
Subject: Spanish news