Monday, August 19, 2013

EU Steps in as Spain and Britain Square Off Over Gibraltar (yet again)

The commission’s intervention came as a British warship docked in Gibraltar on Monday morning, part of what the British authorities described as a long-planned military training operation, rather than a show of force aimed at Spain.

Still, the arrival of the warship, the Westminster, which was escorted by two smaller ships from the Royal Navy, came a day after Spanish fishermen confronted British police vessels to protest Gibraltar’s construction of an artificial reef that is limiting their access to the waters off the territory.

Although Spain has regularly challenged Britain’s 300-year-old control of Gibraltar, the territory’s decision to build the reef has heightened tensions considerably. Gibraltar created the reef this month by dumping 70 concrete blocks into the sea in an attempt to prevent overfishing. Spain retaliated by tightening controls at the border, forcing cars to wait for hours to enter or leave the territory. Spain has also said that it may charge 50 euros, or about $67, to cross the border, saying that the additional revenue could help compensate Spanish fishermen for their losses.
Read the rest here.

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