Spain holding EU aviation ‘to ransom’

The solution to the vexed issue of Gibraltar lies in the application of European Union aviation measures to its airport in accordance with Gibraltar’s status under European Union law, insists the Gibraltar authorities.

In response to comments made by the Spanish ambassador to the Ukraine over a potential fix to the diplomatic impasse which is holding up vital EU aviation legislation, Daniel D’Amato, legal officer with Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar, said the problem stems from the Spanish government’s wrongful insistence on excluding Gibraltar airport from the scope of EU aviation legislation.

“The EU cannot continue to act as a bystander in what it regards as a “sovereignty dispute” whilst failing to apply the laws which Spain subscribes to as an EU Member State,” he said. “In fact, in this context, it is worth highlighting that only last year the international Court of Arbitration for Sport determined that “the allegation that Gibraltar is a ‘disputed’ and/or ‘sensitive’ territory… is legally and factually misplaced” unequivocally concluding that “under public international law the sovereignty of Gibraltar is clearly British” and that “there is no actual legal dispute presently pending”.

“Therefore, the Spanish ambassador’s comments concerning an alleged “litigation between Spain and the United Kingdom” or an apparent “unresolved judicial dispute concerning Gibraltar” are simply false,” he continued.

He added that the United Kingdom and Spain have previously agreed the terms of a political solution which allowed EU civil aviation measures to be applied to Gibraltar airport – the 2006 Cordoba Agreement, which was abandoned by Spain in 2011.

He said Gibraltan authorities “share the frustration that many stakeholders are voicing but it regrets the fact that not enough is being said … to focus attention on the Spanish Government’s use of the EU to advance its misconceived sovereignty claim over Gibraltar in a manner which holds the EU aviation industry and the Ukraine aviation industry to ransom.”

He said options to resolve the current impasse include:

Option 1: Apply all civil aviation legislation to Gibraltar Airport without prejudice to the respective legal positions of the UK and Spain about the land on which the airport is built
This is the formula which was abandoned by Spain in 2011. The Cordoba Agreements enabled EU aviation measures to progress without prejudice to the respective legal positions of the UK and Spain over the land on which the airport is situated.
Option 2: Not mention Gibraltar specifically by name in the proposed legislation
Gibraltar Airport is an airport of the EU and must not be discriminated against on the basis of an illegitimate sovereignty claim. Omitting any specific mention of Gibraltar in SES 2+ would cause it to be treated as every other EU airport is treated.

Posted in News, Single European Sky

Comments are closed.