Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Fourth Report


(1)    We conclude that the present system of border controls is unacceptable and wholly inappropriate between two parts of the EU. The Spanish authorities should immediately normalise the border regime which they impose. In any event, we recommend that the British Government should not hesitate to invoke the procedures allowed under the Treaty of Amsterdam to ensure that the right of free movement of EU citizens, whether Gibraltarians or others, is respected. If the Commission is unwilling to take swift action itself, the British Government should invoke Article 227 against Spain. (Paragraph 32)

(2)    We believe that if Spain were to act in such an unwarranted manner [as to ban civil overflights of Spain by aircraft travelling to or from Gibraltar], proportionate reciprocal measures should be considered against Spanish aviation interests. (Paragraph 39)

(3)    We conclude that there is great potential in the development of the airport in a way which would assist both Spain and Gibraltar. This is an area where real progress can be made. We recommend that the British Government take advantage of its ownership of the airport to facilitate a new agreement for the joint use of Gibraltar airport. (Paragraph 41)

(4)    We recommend that the Government give the fullest legal support to any Gibraltarian (or other non-Spanish) operator who wishes to re-establish a ferry crossing between Gibraltar and Spain. (Paragraph 42)

(5)    We recommend that the two Governments [of the United Kingdom and of Gibraltar] should ensure that funding is made available for at least one fast patrol boat for the Royal Gibraltar Police. (Paragraph 49)

(6)    We recommend that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office continue to press for the early adoption of legislation in Gibraltar to bring into effect the Fourth and Seventh EC Company Law Directives. (Paragraph 55)

(7)    We conclude that the series of allegations which Spain makes against Gibraltar appear almost wholly to be without substance. In many cases, it is not just the Government of Gibraltar but the British Government as well which is traduced. It is deeply regrettable that allegations are made that cannot be sustained by a basis in fact. If concrete evidence of wrong-doing were produced, the British Government should act promptly to deal with the problem. But so long as allegations are unsubstantiated, the British Government should continue to rebut them promptly and decisively. (Paragraph 57)

(8)    We believe that the message that Gibraltar does comply with its EU obligations should be emphasised by the United Kingdom Government to its EU partners. We further recommend that the British Government request that the European Commission, as part of its regular review of levels of compliance in EU Member States, assess the compliance of Gibraltar with relevant EU obligations and publish its findings. (Paragraph 62)

(9)    We recommend that the British Government should press the European Commission strongly for early action and speedy resolution of the issues involving non-recognition of driving licences, passports and identity cards. (Paragraph 66)

(10)    We recommend that the Government take all steps open to it under the Treaties to ensure that a determination is made by the European Commission with no further delay in the case of telephone operations. (Paragraph 67)

(11)    We recommend that the British Government take speedy and practical steps to ensure that Gibraltarian financial and other interests are not adversely affected by the non-recognition of Gibraltarian competent authorities. (Paragraph 71)

(12)    We recommend that a clear message be given to Spain that any attempt to block Gibraltarian entry into Schengen runs counter to the letter and spirit of the Declaration made at the time of the Amsterdam Treaty. (Paragraph 83)

(13)    We recommend that the Government make it clear that they will ensure that all British citizens resident in Gibraltar will be able to vote in the 2004 European Parliament elections. (Paragraph 92)

(14)    Our general conclusion is that Gibraltar has a right to be treated in the same way as any part of the United Kingdom so far as the benefits of EU membership are concerned. We recommend that the Government continue to press with determination for the fullest protection of Gibraltarians' rights as citizens of the EU. (Paragraph 93)

(15)    We recommend that the Government exert maximum pressure for the removal of all remaining restrictions which apply to Gibraltar in the NATO context. (Paragraph 95)

(16)    We recommend that the Royal Navy should be tasked to support the Royal Gibraltar Police in their duties of fisheries protection and the interdiction of smuggling. (Paragraph 97)

(17)    We believe that the Prime Minister should consider meeting Gibraltar's Chief Minister, at least before any bilateral meeting with the Spanish Prime Minister at which Gibraltar is to be discussed. (Paragraph 104)

(18)    As far as Parliament is concerned, we believe that the Royal Commission at present considering the future of the House of Lords might consider whether Gibraltar should be represented in that House, and we shall draw this view to the attention of the Commission. (Paragraph 104)

(19)    The Committee believes that, while the potential Spanish reaction to any constitutional change compatible with the Treaty of Utrecht is a consideration which British and Gibraltarian Governments will wish to bear in mind, there can be no question of a Spanish veto on constitutional developments in Gibraltar. (Paragraph 106)

(20)    We recommend that Señor Matutes's proposals be rejected, and that the Brussels Process be replaced by a new phase in British/Spanish relations over Gibraltar. (Paragraph 119)

(21)    We recommend a new process of regular dialogue on those many other areas where agreement and co-operation could yield substantial benefits to Gibraltarians and Spanish people alike. (Paragraph 120)

(22)    We recommend that the new process of dialogue should put issues of sovereignty on hold, and concentrate on exploring areas of co-operation. The full participation, on the United Kingdom side, of the Government of Gibraltar would be essential. (Paragraph 123)

(23)    We conclude that there have been occasions in the past when the British defence of Gibraltarian interests has not been as robust as it should have been. Of all our overseas territories, Gibraltar is in the unique position of having to conform to almost all EU regulations and directives. This means that the British Government have a special duty of care towards Gibraltar in the European Union, and places extra responsibilities upon United Kingdom Ministers to uphold the interests of Gibraltar. We urge Her Majesty's Government both to recognise and to act in full accordance with these responsibilities. (Paragraph 125)

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Prepared 22 June 1999