Spain has the right and the obligation to control the border with Gibraltar and, after complaints from authorities on The Rock about the lines that those control procedures cause for motorists, the government prepared a series of measures to reinforce them, a high-level official said in an interview published Sunday in the Spanish press.
"Our controls at the Border (of Gibraltar) are legal and there are going to be more," Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told the daily ABC.
The concessions made by his predecessor, Miguel Angel Moratinos, with the so-called Tripartite Forum were an "absurdity," Garcia-Margallo said.
"We're trying to recover what is recoverable ... of what was given up at the time by the Socialist foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos," Garcia-Margallo said.
"Gibraltar has to understand that with this government things are never going to work that way again. Recess is over," the foreign minister, a member of the center-right Popular Party, or PP, said.
The British government on Friday asked the Spanish Embassy in London for an explanation of the controls and the delays that they cause for motorists.
A few days prior to that, Gibraltar authorities sent a report to the European Commission complaining about Spain's actions and Spain's Agriculture, Food and Environment Ministry filed a complaint with Spanish prosecutors about the dropping of 70 huge concrete blocks by Gibraltarian tugboats to create an artificial reef in Spanish waters near the Rock.
Madrid maintains that the controls are necessary to avoid illicit traffic and, in that regard, the document outlining the Spanish plan states that a significant 213 percent increase in tobacco smuggling was detected between 2010 and 2012.
The controls, according to Madrid, are "random" and therefore affect Spaniards and Gibraltarians alike.
Gibraltar, a territory of 5.5 sq. kilometers (2.1 sq. miles) at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, has been held by Britain since 1704 and became a British Crown Colony in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht. EFE