La Treizième Étoile: 04/08/13 - 11/08/13 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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Gibraltar MEP calls for EU mission to conduct detailed assessment of Spain’s ‘interference’

Friday, 9 August 2013
Conservative MEP Ashley Fox has called for a team of officials from the European Commission to be immediately dispatched to Gibraltar’s border crossing to conduct a detailed assessment of Spain’s ‘interference’.

The European Commission has already agreed to the principle of sending a team of investigators to the Rock, but has intimated that this might not take place until late September, or even October.

The Commission has a duty to ensure that Spain abides by its obligations under the EU’s treaties - that is its role. Specifically it must protect the free movement of people. Waiting a possible eight weeks before putting their team in place is unacceptable,Mr Fox told the Gibraltar Chronicle. “We need the EU to act quickly and put a stop to this latest heavy handed Spanish approach to border control.

While acknowledging Spain’s right to protect and police its own borders, Mr Fox said that the searches and other delays are nothing to do with crime or immigration and everything to do with causing inconvenience to Gibraltarians: “They have no legitimate purpose, only to cause mischief. The Spanish Foreign Minister’s inflammatory remarks at the weekend are sufficient evidence of that,” he said.

I have also spoken directly to UK Foreign Minister of State, Hugo Swire MP, to express my concern about what the people of Gibraltar have been enduring. He has assured me that whilst the British Government regards the Spanish actions as unfriendly, un-European and wholly unacceptable, it is doing everything it can through diplomatic channels to ease tensions and stop the dangerous rhetoric coming out of Madrid.

Mr Fox's call echos that of fellow Gibraltar MEP Sir Graham Watson, who wrote to the President of the European Commission last week.


‘People need to look beyond their noses and stop blaming Europe for everything’ – SW Conservative MEP

Thursday, 8 August 2013
‘People should stop blaming Europe for all our problems’ - that is the message of outgoing Conservative MEP Giles Chichester.

Mr Chichester, who has been an MEP since 1994, is to stand down at the next European Parliament elections in May 2014 and said that if Britain holds an in-out referendum after 2017, as promised by Prime Minister David Cameron, he was likely to support staying in.

"People need to look beyond their noses and stop blaming Europe for everything," said Mr Chichester . "Most of our problems are home-grown."

But he backed the Prime Minister's plan to hold a referendum: "I think David Cameron is playing it right. There is a strong case to have a referendum. I took part in the 1975 referendum to go in, but the game has moved on. The project has gone too far too fast in trying to create a European State. For all the EU's imperfections I think people need to consider very carefully the alternatives – if there is an alternative."

Mr Chichester said he would like to see a reform of the present proportional representation electoral system. (NB: when he was first elected it was to a single-member constituency for Devon and East Plymouth, the seat became part of the much larger South West England constituency in 1999 that remains today.)

The present system of proportional representation weakened democratic accountability, even though it was fairer in mathematical terms”, he said.

He added that he also wanted more transparency in the Council of Ministers, where national representatives can vote one way in secret, and then take the opposite position when they return to their home country.


‘Boycott Spain!’ says Conservative Gibraltar MEP

Monday, 5 August 2013
Conservative Gibraltar MEP Julie Girling has called on British holidaymakers to boycott their summer holidays in Spain and either take a staycation in the UK or visit another part of Europe as a means to protest against what she calls the ‘increasingly outlandish’ threats against British territory Gibraltar and its citizens by the Spanish Government and Police.

Now, after Spain issued a further series of menacing proposals, including the imposition of a €50 charge to cross the border and the closure of Spanish airspace to Gibraltar flights, Mrs Girling has called for people power and a boycott of Spain.

There has been enough talking, now there must be action,she rallied in a statement. “I urge constituents across the UK to consider taking their summer holidays elsewhere this year – Spain is not on our side."

"Citizens of Gibraltar will not stand for the Spanish bullying and intimidation. The imposition of a €50 charge to cross the border, and the closure of Spanish airspace to Gibraltar flights is clearly impeding the movement of workers to and from Gibraltar, I believe the European Commission should launch legal action against the Spanish Government.


Gibraltar MEP hits out at Spanish Minister’s €50 fee plan for crossing the frontier as harassment and illegal

Sir Graham Watson, the Liberal Democrat MEP who represents the British Territory of Gibraltar in the European Parliament, has condemned the comments made by Spain’s Foreign Minister Mr Garcia-Margallo at the weekend and has raised the issue with European Commission President Barroso, calling for him to intervene personally.

On Sunday the Spanish Minister suggested the introduction of a new 50 Euro (£43) fee for crossing the Spanish-Gibraltar Frontier. Sir Graham has pointed out that this would be contrary to EU law.

I am deeply concerned by Sr Margallo’s latest comments, which follow months of harassment of my constituents by the Spanish government. The people of Gibraltar are as much EU citizens as those of Spain. As such, they have the clear legal right not to be discriminated against on the basis of where they are from; nor should their freedom of movement be restricted.

"I have raised concerns about Spanish harassment with various European Commissioners in recent months, in many cases in the presence of Ministers from the Government of Gibraltar. I have asked the Commission to send observers to monitor the situation at the frontier. I have also raised in Parliament the case of shots being fired by Guardia Civil officers at one of my constituents riding a jet ski of the Western Beach,” he said.

"Today I have written to EU Commission President Barroso highlighting recent incidents and the Minister’s remarks and asked for his personal intervention to stop such objectionable behaviour by an EU Government bullying EU citizens.

"The European Commission must remind Madrid of its obligations under EU law. This type of behaviour is something typical of a bygone age.


Last election:

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