THE European Commission has kept a safe distance from the fallout over Spanish incursions into Gibraltar waters at the weekend, saying it is a matter for the UK and Spain to work out.
Asked about complaints from Britain over incidents which occurred on Sunday (August 9), when Spanish vessels and helicopters chased alleged smugglers into Sandy Bay, a European Commission spokesperson said that it was an issue for the UK and Spain “to deal with bilaterally.”
In the European Parliament, the Conservative MEP for Gibraltar and the South West of England, Julie Girling, said: “Spain is fully aware of the legal position around territorial waters, yet over the past two years has increased unlawful incursions by state vessels from around five per month to around 40 per month.
These provocations by the Spanish are unacceptable. These incursions were committed by police officers. They should know the law – and what it says is ‘keep out of our waters’.”
The Conservative MP for Romford and one of the vice-chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gibraltar, Andrew Rosindell, called on Gibraltar radio for the Spanish ambassador to be expelled from London.
Gib’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the Gibraltar Chronicle that he wanted a strong partnership between The Rock and Spain to tackle criminal activity. However, he underlined that neither the UK nor Gibraltar could tolerate flouting of the sovereignty of waters.