SPANISH Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo would appear to be trying to muddy the waters over sovereignty issues by creating an argument that doesn’t exist.
When at an informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Riga he commented that the application to Gibraltar of EU law on civil aviation should be subject to a bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and Spain.
Now Gibraltar’s Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia has said: “The Government does not agree with the proposal made by the Spanish Foreign Minister.” He goes on to add that: “The reality is that Spain should be made to honour its obligations under the EU Treaties and the agreement that they entered into at Cordoba in 2006 and would no longer seek the exclusion of Gibraltar airport from EU legislation. And any bilateral agreement would be contrary to the EU treaties, to our terms of membership of the EU and therefore illegal.”
The Spanish Foreign Minister has said that the reason why Spain is holding up EU aviation legislation is because the airport is constructed on land which was not ceded under the Treaty of Utrecht and Spain is concerned at the possible recognition of UK sovereignty in that zone. The Government maintains that, “the whole of Gibraltar is British, from the frontier fence up to Europa Point including the territorial waters, and the airspace above. Spain is holding the whole of Europe to ransom in order to advance its claim to Gibraltar. Their argument does not even make sense given that the EU law that will apply to the airport is the same as applies in the rest of Europe. They should also bear in mind that EU law first applied to the airport when we acceded to the European Community, as it was then, in 1973 which is 13 years before Spain joined.”