The Foreign Affairs Committee has agreed to the
1. The Committee reported on Gibraltar in June 1999.
Our inquiry followed a sharp deterioration in cross border relationships
in late 1998/early 1999, but dealt with a wide variety of issues
affecting the future of the Territory.
2. The Government's response to the Committee's Report
was published in October 1999.
We pursued with the FCO a number of issues which were less than
adequately dealt with in the reply, and promised to return regularly
to examine progress. The Government's further responses are published
with this Report.
3. The Government of Gibraltar's response to our
Report and to the Government's response is also published with
this Report, together with a number of other comments which we
4. On 19 April, the Foreign Secretary reported to
the House on the conclusion of discussions with the Spanish Government
on a number of EU-related questions relevant to Gibraltar.
The Foreign Secretary sent the papers to the Committee, and these
are published as Appendix 3 to this Report.
5. On 8 June 2000, our 1999 Report and the Government's
response were the subject of a debate in Westminster Hall.
We regarded the Minister for Europe's reply to the debate as far
6. We therefore posed a number of additional question
to the Department, to which we received a response on 20 July
2000. This response is also published as Appendix 4 to this Report.
7. We intend to pursue resolutely our interest in
developments in Gibraltar. We welcome the positive developments
in Spanish/British relations in this and other areas which have
so far occurred, but there remains a long way to go before normality
8. We will return to this issue next session.
Meanwhile, we reiterate a number of the key recommendations from
our 1999 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)
(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)
(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)
(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
(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)
(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.
(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
9. We now further recommend that voting in the
2004 elections for the European Parliament must take place in
Gibraltar, and that, if necessary, Her Majesty's Government should
take unilateral action to extend the franchise to Gibraltarians.
6 Fourth Report, Session 1998-99, Gibraltar,
HC 366. Back
Cm 4470. Back
HC Deb 19 April, col. 499w. Back
HC Deb 8 June 2000, col. 117WHff. Back