AS PART of a decision to ensure that countries on mainland Europe who are members of Schengen are able to protect their borders, it has been agreed that anyone crossing in or out of a non-Schengen country will need to have passports checked.
This of course applies to Gibraltar and Spain which is why a number of new automated gates for pedestrians at the border have been introduced in La Linea.
It appears however that these scanners cannot read Gibraltar ID cards and there is no information yet on how vehicles will be treated.
Whilst there is no obligation for the government of Gibraltar to change the way in which it allows individuals to enter and exit the Territory there is a fear that there will be increased delays for travellers at the Spanish borders as currently, passport checks are perfunctory to say the least.
If each person has to present their passport even to a machine reader, it is likely that delays will increase which will not be helpful to anyone.
As the number of flights in and out of Gibraltar increase, so the road across the runway is closed more often and a combination of delays caused by both authorities could actually dissuade tourists from visiting.
One small crumb of good news is that the new Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis is less likely to use these new rules as an excuse to delay border crossings but he is not the sole arbiter of government policy.
Mr Dastis has recently made it clear that he recognises that without an agreement from the British government to discuss the matter of Dual Sovereignty then it cannot happen even though he continues to express the belief that it would be better for Gibraltar if it wishes to maintain direct access to Spain.
He does however say that any decision has to be with the full support of the people of Gibraltar and if they want to exist outside of the EU then it is their prerogative.
It seems likely that whatever is intended, the initial period following the requirement to introduce checks will see extended delays whilst all parties become used to the new systems but there will always be a fear that if it suits their position, Madrid could easily instruct those at the border to cause long queues deliberately on a regular basis.