By John Smith •
Published: 06 Sep 2023 • 17:32
Imagining of new vehicular entrance to Gibraltar
Credit: Gibraltar Government
WITH relationships between Gibraltar and Spain deteriorating daily and no hope of reaching a settlement over the border whilst there is no elected Spanish Government, politicians on the Rock are taking action.
First Spain enforced more stringent checks on passports and identity cards creating huge queues especially at the traditional ‘rush hours’ when Spanish workers are trying to get to their jobs on the Rock.
After giving a warning, the Gibraltar Government has now retaliated creating two entry queues, one for Gibraltar and UK Passport holders and the other for EU nationals passport holders thus making the queues for Spanish workers even longer.
With one eye on the likelihood of a PP/Vox coalition coming into power, meaning that a negotiated border agreement may not be possible, the Gibraltar Government is investing in the future.
The fact that Gibraltar National Day takes place on Sunday September 10 and the Government has flown in members of the Houses of Commons and Lords to show their support as well as see for themselves what is going on, may well have influenced Madrid to play hard ball but the plan seems to have backfired as it is mainly Spanish voters who are being inconvenienced at the moment.
Social Media in Gibraltar is buzzing with indignation against the Spanish, many talk about how they managed with a closed border for more than 13 years and one person simply referred to Spain as “the enemy”.
Gibraltar is now planning a major refurbishment of the pedestrian and vehicular entrances to Gibraltar at the land border with Spain.
The refurbishment had been delayed pending the negotiation of a treaty with the European Union.
Now it has decided to proceed to install a battery of automatic border control gates on the Gibraltar side, in addition to the manual checks, in order to allow for a more fluid access of persons in the event of a No Negotiated Outcome to the treaty.
The use of these e-gates (which already have planning permission) will allow more people to be processed at the same time.
The intention is to now submit the proposed refurbishment of the pedestrian arrivals hall and the external areas for vehicles to the Development and Planning Commission, as it would make sense to carry out the two projects at the same time, in the event that the e-gates become necessary.
Possibly not coincidentally and bearing in mind that there will have to be a General Election called in a Gibraltar which is angry about relationships with Spain, the Minister for Tourism, Vijay Daryanani, also announced plans to build a new cruise liner terminal.
The new state of the art facility will replace the current one, comprising two floors and a rooftop.
The Ground floor will be the main passenger area whilst the first floor will allow for events and conferences, with the possibility of shopping units.
As the cruise market has become increasingly more important to the economy of the Rock, the current facility is tatty but considering that the Government has seen revenues dip and has to rely on a £500 million line of bank credit underwritten by the UK, local opposition leaders may question where the funds for these renovations are coming from.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development.
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