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EC chiefs crossed from Spain into Gibraltar before inspecting developments made since their last visit
04.07.14 - 16:41 -
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Citizens group stages peaceful protest as EC inspection team visits the Gib border
EU chiefs inspected the border on Wednesday morning. :: A. B.
A peaceful protest was held by the Concerned Citizens Group of Gibraltar on Wednesday morning - as an EU inspection team visited the border.
Around 60 members held banners opposite the Rock’s airport to protest at the Spanish government’s treatment of the British overseas territory.
The group arrived at 8am shortly before the EC staff inspected the new measures introduced at the border follow to help ease traffic flow.
Following the EC team’s first visit last September both sides were given six months to respond to recommendations made by Brussels.
Predictably, there were no queues to leave the territory during the morning visit or during the evening rush hour, when motorists and pedestrians can be left queuing for up to two hours to leave Spain.
However, the announcement of the visit by the EC inspectors was condemned by many who claimed it allowed the Spanish border authorities to be on their best behaviour.
One protester was 53-year-old Gibraltarian Cathy Earle.
“I’m here because the Spanish government orders the Guardia Civil to start queues whenever they feel like it - it’s nothing to do with the cigarettes,” she said.
“It’s an injustice as they start the queues when people finish work. We have 10,000 workers who come here every day and they stop and search people one by one. There’s no need for it and if there was they could get more Guardia Civil.
“I feel very strongly about this as waiting two hours in a queue is inhumane. And it was absolutely crazy to announce when they [the EU Commission] were coming beforehand.
“The queues don’t affect me much, but the people coming into work don’t have any choice. And it’s the unpredictability that causes the most stress because you can’t plan ahead. It’s a disgrace.
“It’s just like how they treat us at sea. We only have two-and-a-half miles compared to Spain’s 8,000 miles, but all the fish seem to be in our waters according to the Spanish government.”
Adele Mifsud, 66, a Gibraltarian, added: “My mother is 91 and her sister (96) lives in Sotogrande. But my mother doesn’t want to visit her as she dreads being in the queue and starts getting anxious, so now