Sunday, 19 February 2017

Possible border delays

Checking passports on the Spanish side during an EU assessment visit. Checking passports on the Spanish side during an EU assessment visit. © InfoGibraltar Wikimedia

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.

  • Alan Bowman

    Mike in ESP - you obviously know little or nothing about the South American countries as evidenced by your inability to spell their names correctly. In fact you seem also to be unsure as to how to spell Gibraltar.

    You complain that it is the Spanish way of thinking to create problems for its citizens' employment Quote: "in fact a government who are hell bent on creating issues with Gibralter in a time when European countries and politicians are supposed to work with their fellow Europeans..." Just what do you think is happening in UK right now with this "Brexit" farce - those that should be sorting out the mess that they have created just have no idea of how to do anything, leaving UK citizens all over Europe in a state of nowhere land and the EU citizens that the UK depends upon to help operate the NHS and other businesses in a similar position. Sir Ivan Rogers was only partly right about the "muddled thinking" of the UK government - in fact, they just haven't a clue.

  • Mike in ESP

    Whilst I understand having to show passports by everyone could slow a customs point up there has always been the requirement for British citizens to show their passports and Spanish to show their ID cards, really only difference seems the Spanish that cross "work in Gib" would need to get a passport, remembering of course that Gibraltar supplies several thousand jobs to Spanish citizens that cross the border every day! ID cards have to be checked just as a passport would be!

    Why would a government create employment issues for it's citizens, employment they cannot supply themselves, in fact a government who are hell bent on creating issues with Gibralter in a time when European countries and politicians are supposed to work with their fellow Europeans... the main problem here is that the Spanish politicians should be in a "way of thinking" museum as their mind set is over 50 years out of date! Then that is the Latin based way of thinking, we know this because Argentina, Columbia, Chilli, Cuba etc. etc. all latin countries appear to be close to being banana republics or 3rd world countries becasue of their ways of thinking!

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