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Spain: Drivers fume over frontier delays01:25

Spain: Drivers fume over frontier delays

United Kingdom, Gibraltar
August 15, 2013 at 12:40 GMT +00:00 · Published

Spain: Drivers fume over frontier delays

Passengers were left waiting up to four hours at the frontier between British overseas territory Gibraltar and Spain on Thursday, as Spanish border officials conducted lengthy checks on local citizens and Spanish people commuting to the rocky British outpost.

Spanish border security tightened security on the pretext of preventing money laundering and tobacco smuggling, but locals feel caught in the middle of a centuries old diplomatic spat between Britain and Spain. One exasperated border-crosser protested: "There are no toilets, there's no water, there's people there with children, it's disgusting. Spain in disgusting." The car's driver said: "They [the Spanish] should be fined by the EU for this, the EU should step in."

Another Spanish driver slammed the Spanish government for their handling of the diplomatic impasse, and for the economic conditions that forcing Spaniards to seek work in Gibraltar. "Well, I don't think this is a solution. This is just to bother the locals and the ones who come for work so they can eat. Because the ones that go to work don't have other means but to come to work here [Gibraltar]. Do you understand me? Because there is no work. And what should we do? We can go steal or do something else, or at least pass me a carton of tobacco for what we make which is two euros. To make two euros, we have to be here all day. Do you understand? And that is what there is. And meanwhile, they [the government officials] are filling their sacks. The English and the Spanish too. See you later."

The queues have prompted the UK to threaten legal action as drivers are left waiting up to seven hours at the crossing. About 10,000 Spaniards cross the frontier each day to work in the island which stretches under 10 sq/km and is home to 30,000 people.

The UK Foreign Office called the delays 'disproportionate', saying it would seek further explanation from Spain. On Monday a British warship, the HMS Illustrious, set off from Portsmouth harbour for Gibraltar, in a trip British officials insist is a routine visit. Tensions over the self-governed British overseas territory, to which Spain lays claim intensified in late July when Gibraltar dumped slabs of concrete into the sea to make an artificial reef, a move that Spain says blocked its shipping vessels.

Spain: Drivers fume over frontier delays01:25
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Spain: Drivers fume over frontier delays

Passengers were left waiting up to four hours at the frontier between British overseas territory Gibraltar and Spain on Thursday, as Spanish border officials conducted lengthy checks on local citizens and Spanish people commuting to the rocky British outpost.

Spanish border security tightened security on the pretext of preventing money laundering and tobacco smuggling, but locals feel caught in the middle of a centuries old diplomatic spat between Britain and Spain. One exasperated border-crosser protested: "There are no toilets, there's no water, there's people there with children, it's disgusting. Spain in disgusting." The car's driver said: "They [the Spanish] should be fined by the EU for this, the EU should step in."

Another Spanish driver slammed the Spanish government for their handling of the diplomatic impasse, and for the economic conditions that forcing Spaniards to seek work in Gibraltar. "Well, I don't think this is a solution. This is just to bother the locals and the ones who come for work so they can eat. Because the ones that go to work don't have other means but to come to work here [Gibraltar]. Do you understand me? Because there is no work. And what should we do? We can go steal or do something else, or at least pass me a carton of tobacco for what we make which is two euros. To make two euros, we have to be here all day. Do you understand? And that is what there is. And meanwhile, they [the government officials] are filling their sacks. The English and the Spanish too. See you later."

The queues have prompted the UK to threaten legal action as drivers are left waiting up to seven hours at the crossing. About 10,000 Spaniards cross the frontier each day to work in the island which stretches under 10 sq/km and is home to 30,000 people.

The UK Foreign Office called the delays 'disproportionate', saying it would seek further explanation from Spain. On Monday a British warship, the HMS Illustrious, set off from Portsmouth harbour for Gibraltar, in a trip British officials insist is a routine visit. Tensions over the self-governed British overseas territory, to which Spain lays claim intensified in late July when Gibraltar dumped slabs of concrete into the sea to make an artificial reef, a move that Spain says blocked its shipping vessels.

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