No open sky for Gibraltar

GIBRALTAR has been excluded from a European Union ‘Open Skies’ plan after Spain kicked up a fuss.

Of the 28 members of the European Union Council which were voting on the plan only Britain voted against.

Spanish Public works and Transport Minister Ana Pastor had argued for the exclusion of Gibraltar airport from the initiative, which aims to merge national air corridors allowing shorter flight paths and reduced costs and carbon dioxide emissions.

Pastor threatened to veto the new regulations if they were applied to the British colony, claiming that it affected Spain.

Robert Goodwill, British under secretary of state for transport, declared: “There is absolutely no reason at all for Gibraltar to be excluded from continuing participating in these measures.”

The Italian leaders taking their turn as head of the council finally suggested delaying application of the regulations until Spain and Britain reach an agreement as a compromise.

Brussels has told Spain and Britain they must negotiate to reach a satisfactory solution to their differences.

Gibraltar was originally excluded from the Single European Sky project when it began in 2004 but following the 2006 Cordoba Agreement between London, Madrid and the Gibraltarian government, Spain agreed to stop seeking the exclusion of Gibraltar airport from EU aviation measures.

Spanish Exterior Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo decided to return to Spain’s previous position in 2012 as he considered that the agreed joint use of Gibraltar airport never happened and claimed it was built on an area illegally occupied since the 19th century and not included in the Treaty of Utrecht. 

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