The Gibraltar government has rejected and criticised Spain’s proposal to introduce a ‘fast track’ at the border for Spanish workers wanting to enter Gibraltar for the purpose of work and have responded to Spain by suggesting their proposal is nothing more than ‘discriminatory,’ claiming freedom of movement should be a privilege enjoyed by all.
The Spanish government has proposed spending 5.3 million euros building a ‘fast track’ for workers resident in Spain with jobs in Gibraltar to cross the border faster. A fast track for vehicular access as well as a secondary fast track for workers crossing the border on foot has also been suggested as it goes through the motions of complying with the EU’s recommendations to ease traffic flow at the frontier where an estimated 6,000 workers cross the border daily.
A spokesperson in the Gibraltar government said “The government considers that any proposed solution towards a free flowing frontier must also encompass EU nationals and others who are not workers, like tourists and residents on both sides, whose right to freedom of movement continues to be undermined by Spain.”
“The reality is that the Spanish authorities make life difficult for people and vehicles crossing the border for political reasons and because they want to. All that Madrid has to do is improve the flow rate of cars and persons and operate proper red and green channels.This alone will reduce waiting times to cross the frontier”
The ongoing row has not settled in an amicable agreement with either side, following last year’s intense crippling checks, which kept people in traffic queues for up to eight hours in the immense summer heat with Spain claiming those ‘checks were essential in preventing tobacco smuggling,’ a statement disagreed with by residents on the Rock who claim the method to be nothing more than another bullying tactic from Madrid and complain they feel ‘under siege.’
Earlier this month the Spanish Ambassador in London was summoned to the UK Foreign Office to answer yet another complaint over Gibraltar.