Memorandum from the Foreign and Commonwealth
1. The Foreign Affairs Committee asked for
up-to-date figures on delays at the Spanish border on entry to,
and departure from, Gibraltar, and a progress report on Gibraltar's
implementation of EC legislation. The information below supplements
that given in the Memoranda which the FCO submitted to the FAC
in 1999, at the start of its Enquiry, and subsequently, most recently
in July 20016.
2. The Committee requested the figures from
1 January 2001 onwards, calculated according to the method used
by the Government of Gibraltar. These are in Tables A and B.7
3. Table A gives waiting times for cars
entering Gibraltar. The "Minutes" column is the average
delay for that day. The "Average" column shows the rolling
average, which the Government of Gibraltar has been calculating
since 1 July 1999. Table B gives waiting times for cars exiting
Gibraltar. The first two columns show number of cars, The second
two columns show average daily delays and the rolling average.
4. It is clear from Table A that queues
for cars entering Gibraltar from Spain experienced delays at periods
on most days throughout the year. In the summer, when traffic
volumes are high, average delays often reach 60 minutes or more.
Table B shows that queue delays for cars leaving Gibraltar remain
high throughout the year, with most average daily delays fluctuating
between about 20 and 50 minutes. High summer traffic volumes do
not seem to cause any significant fluctuations in delay times
5. During its evidence session on 7 March
2001, the Committee commented on the difference between the methods
of calculation adopted by the FCO and the Government of Gibraltar.
Both methods employ the same raw data compiled by Immigration
and Security Officers. Table C is an example of a daily data sheet8.
6. The Government of Gibraltar calculates
a daily average delay over the full 24-hour period by taking the
delay times for those hours during the 24-hour period when delays
occur, and dividing by the appropriate number of hours.
7. The data which the FCO has been supplying
to the Committee at its request since June 2000 uses an average
of the hourly-recorded delays for the 12 hour period from 09.00-21.00,
which is the busiest time. Table D9
contains delay times calculated on this basis for the period since
1 January 2001. It also shows the maximum recorded delay time
for each day.
8. The difference between the average delays
shown in the two sets of figures is not great. But since the Committee
has asked that a single method of calculation be used, we shall
in future provide the Committee with the Government of Gibraltar
9. The EC Treaties apply to Gibraltar by
virtue of Article 299.4 TEC, but under the terms of the UK's Act
of Accession excludes the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policy
and provisions on VAT. Gibraltar is excluded from the Common Commercial
Policy and the Community Customs Territory and in consequence,
Community rules on customs and free movement of goods do not apply
to Gibraltar. HMG has always taken the view that a further consequence
of the Act of Accession is that measures adopted under Article
95 TEC which have as their objective the removal of barriers to
trade in goods are not applicable to Gibraltar. This has been
challenged by the Commission: the issue is currently before ECJ.
10. Except in the areas specified above,
EC law applies to Gibraltar, and applicable EC Directives and
other legal instruments must be implemented in Gibraltar. Some
Third Pillar Justice and Home Affairs instruments also apply to
Gibraltar where the Government of Gibraltar has expressed a wish
to participate and this has been agreed by EU partners.
11. We work closely with the Government
of Gibraltar to ensure timely implementation of EU obligations.
We hold a regular tracking group meeting, with representatives
of the Government of Gibraltar and Whitehall Departments, to monitor
progress on individual EC instruments, and to iron out any potential
difficulties. The next tracking group meeting will be held on
13 December 2001.
12. In recent years the FCO has seconded
legal draftsmen from the United Kingdom to the Government of Gibraltar
to help with transposition of EC legislation. We have recently
increased our support: two UK-funded secondees now work in the
Legislation Support Unit.
13. Gibraltar's current record on implementation
of EC legislation is generally good, and much improved on the
position in the mid-1990s. Gibraltar is now transposing around
40 Directives a yeara significant task for its small administration.
Gibraltar does have a number of outstanding directives to implement
(as does the United Kingdom as a whole): this number (around 100)
fluctuates as existing directives are implemented and new ones
14. There are a number of EC infraction
cases involving Gibraltar at any one time. We regularly remind
the government of Gibraltar of the need to meet the Commission's
deadlines for response on these cases. Occasionally, Gibraltar
does not meet the deadline set, usually due to resource constraints.
One of the potential consequences of a tardy response from Gibraltar
is that it puts the UK administration as a whole at risk from
further infraction proceedings by the Commission.
15. It is impossible to provide a direct
comparison with the UK as a whole because, unlike the UK, Gibraltar
does not participate in the provisions of the Treaty relating
to the Common Customs Tariff, the Common Commercial Policy, free
movement of goods, VAT or Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policy.
But we judge that Gibraltar's record is not radically different
from that of the UK as a whole, no indeed from that of many other
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
8 Ninth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Gibraltar:
Follow up. MC 863, Session 1999-2000 and Sixth Report of the Foreign
Affairs Committee, Gibraltar, MC 319, Session 2000-01. Back
See Annex, pp 20-41. Back
Not herewith printed. Back
pp 42-52. Back