ARTICLES appearing in the Spanish press and social media have highlighted the fact that that the US Government has requested an extension of the current arrangement which it has with Spain, whereby it has three American officials at Madrid airport checking documents of all passengers on US bound flights.
The difference now, is that the Americans are requesting agreement for them to bring in a fully armed team from their Customs and Border Protection department so that they could search passengers and their baggage prior to departure to the US.
Currently, America has similar arrangements in a small number of countries throughout the world including Canada, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. A similar request was sent to nine countries including Spain and the UK in May of this year, but because of the recent Paris attack and the heightened levels of security regarding national and international travel, it has resurfaced.
As has been made clear over the last few days, the US Government is very concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack on home soil. A travel alert from the US State Department on November 23 which is to be in effect until February of next year, said that current information suggests that militants continue to plan attacks in multiple regions around the world, especially over the thanksgiving period.
The problem for the Spanish government is that if it does agree, then it will be handing over an area of the airport to a foreign country which in theory will see a loss of national sovereignty.
With the general election less than one month away and the need for any change to be ratified by parliament, it is highly unlikely that any decision will be made or communicated until the new government of whichever party has been installed.