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Gibraltar Welcomes EU Comments On Spanish Dispute

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
27 November, 2014

A letter from the European Commission that reprimands Spain for failing to implement recommendations that would improve relations with Gibraltar, situated on its southern border, has been published by the media, the Gibraltar Government said.

In a long-running spat between the two territories, Gibraltar has accused Spain of creating unnecessary delays and disruption at the border, while the Spanish Government has accused Gibraltar of being an opaque financial center without robust controls on tax evasion.

The current Spanish Government has also refused to engage in consultation directly with Gibraltar, insisting on communicating with the territory through the United Kingdom, ditching the trilateral discussions that had been held on a number of issues, including on tax information exchange, with the former Spanish Government. The Spanish Government had also threatened to impose a charge to cross the frontier, contrary to EU law.

The EC undertook an inspection on September 25, 2013, and made a number of recommendations to both Spain and Gibraltar. These recommendations included a six-month deadline for their implementation.

The Gibraltar Government said that the Commission held a second inspection on July 2, 2014, and that it had showed Spain had not yet begun to implement these recommendations, although the Gibraltar Government said it had sought to fully comply with the recommendations.

The Government said the letter from the Commission continued to express serious concerns about the lack of progress, and noted a high number of complaints concerning delays at the border.

The EC was said to have directed Spain to implement the recommendations without further delay and to have completed them by not later than summer 2015, calling for monthly progress reports, which it said should be sent to both the UK and Gibraltar directly.

In addition, the EC has said Spain's searching of vehicles entering from Gibraltar must be proportionate, and the intensity of the checks should be reduced or the checks stopped.


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