Madrid bemoans EU's reluctance to intervene in Gibraltar fracas

Spain delivers note demanding "clear response condemning" Rock's actions

Last Tuesday, following a discussion on the Gibraltar diplomatic crisis between Mariano Rajoy and EC President José Manuel Durão Barroso, Spain presented a five-page document to Brussels laying out its viewpoint on its dispute with the United Kingdom.

The document, to which EL PAÍS has had access, made a thinly veiled criticism of the Commission's reticence when responding to Madrid's demands. Concretely, it asked for "a clear response condemning" the sinking of 70 concrete blocks in disputed fishing waters off the Rock and said it was "essential" that a statement on its environmental impact be forthcoming. Madrid also noted that over a year ago it requested an investigation into Gibraltar's tax model "as soon as possible."

Brussels "is not competent to resolve conflicts of sovereignty" between Britain and Spain, the text said, and that these alone are responsible "for the application of EU regulations" in their territories. It added that the Commission, "as the guardian of treaties, should supervise the application of EU law in Gibraltar."

Spain's harshest complaint was reserved for Barroso's spokesman, who said on Monday that a mooted 50-euro charge to enter or leave the Rock would be illegal. "We regret the precipitate and uninformed remark of the Commission spokesman," it read.


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