Gibraltar threatens Spain over passport checks

The Government of Gibraltar requested explanations from Spain for the new passport control regime in La Verja, which it says began at the end of last week, threatening retaliation from this week if it does not receive a response or if the reply is not satisfactory.

In a statement, the Gibraltarian Executive has denounced that “the Spanish border authorities began yesterday, without prior notice, a new regime of passport control at the border.”

As they explained, “a significant number of passports are being scanned, including those of holders of the red Gibraltar resident card and even of some Spanish citizens.” In addition, they added, some identity documents are being scanned.

Given the increased number of people crossing the border during the summer to visit the Rock, the measure “has caused long queues and considerable inconvenience to thousands of people arriving in Gibraltar, the vast majority of whom are in fact Spanish”, it has denounced.

Thus, the Government headed by Fabián Picardo has said that it has already requested “clarification from Spain” and the British Government is also preparing to do the same and has made it clear that “if no explanation is obtained, or that the explanation is not reasonable”, “it will reciprocate and gradually from next week”.

Specifically, they specified, this would mean that cross-border workers who are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement by which the United Kingdom left the EU must have valid travel documents that they must show when they enter the Rock on a daily basis, along with identity documents.

“The Government deeply regrets this situation, which occurs after the action taken by Spain, for which no explanation has yet been received,” they assured, stressing that “it will not hesitate to apply new measures to scan passports and identity documents, and other measures if necessary, for non-British citizens, as well as in applying new queue management protocols, if there are no changes.

It should be noted that these checks at the borders of European countries, wherever they may be, are a direct consequence of Brexit, and the agreement made by the British negotiators under the command of the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.