The dispute between Spain and Britain over Gibraltar could become serious. The European Commission will try to resolve the problems by sending experts and warned Madrid not to rise the tensions by taking money from people crossing into the territory.
Measures had to be taken after a British warship was in Gibraltar yesterday morning that raised the tension and Spain saw this as demonstration of force. In other hand British authorities explained that this action by their side to dock a warship in Gibraltar was a long-planned military training operation.
All started when British Gibraltar decided to create an artificial reef to limit the access off the territory and this action provoked Spanish fishermen to protest. The demonstration passed without incidents.
A day after the dispute near the artificial reef a warship, the Westminster, docked at Gibraltar.
Spain and Britain always had this fight over the control of Gibraltar, the decision for the reef heightened the tensions.
70 concrete blocks were dumped into the sea and this action was for stopping overfishing. Spain responded with tightening controls at the border, making cars to stay with hours before entering or leaving the territory. Even was considered the idea for charge of 50 euros, or about $67 for those passing the border in order to compensate the Spanish fishermen for their losses.
The European Commission have sent a warning to Spain that charging the people crossing the border is violating the European Union law. The Prime Minister of Spain contacted José Manuel Barroso the president of the commission and told that the territory of Gibraltar had become a place for money laundering and tobacco trafficking.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron also contacted Mr. Barroso and asked for inspectors to investigate the border checks of Spain claiming for a violation of European Union rules on the free movement of people and goods.
Fabian Picardo, the head of Gibraltar’s government informed that the artificial reef will not be removed. He also hopes that both sides find a smart way to deal with the problems.
The Westminster warship planned to make a short stop in Gibraltar. There was along the Spanish coast another British military ship, an aircraft carrier, the Illustrious also taking part in planned military training exercise.
Spain informed that tightened border control was against tobacco trafficking. Statistics shows that Gibraltar imported
140 million packs of cigarettes for a year quite suspicious considering the fact that Gibraltar has population only 30,000.
Britain has control over Gibraltar since 1713, Treaty of Utrecht. The Gibraltar’s government has autonomy over taxes, industry, trade.