AIRPORT DEAL

GSD: Normality restoredALLIANCE: Referendum, if need be
PDP: Concern over jurisdiction and control

The Cordoba agreement, particularly as regards the airport, is an issue of interest, with a degree of concern and confusion in the air. What are the three parties saying about it?

GSD: Cordoba agreements were the first fruits

The Cordoba Agreements were the first fruits of the new Trilateral Forum. Apart from evidencing the establishment of a more normal relationship with the Spanish Government, based on mutual respect and a desire for safe friendship, we were able to reach agreements to solve some of the most difficult and politically intractable problems of the past:

The Cordoba Airport Agreement replaces the infamous 1987 Airport Agreement. Under the Cordoba Airport Agreement, EU and international normality is restored to our Airport, which remains fully under British/Gibraltar sovereignty, jurisdiction and control.

Despite the attempts of our political opponents to pretend otherwise:

- No Gibraltar passenger has to go into Spain to fly to or from Gibraltar Airport;

- Spanish officials will not exercise any control to enter or leave Gibraltar

- No Spanish official will be locate in Gibraltar;

- Management control of our Airport to be shared with Spain

It is a complete deception to be told that another Gibraltar Government will be able to re-negotiate this, or worse still to implement some parts but not others. The Cordoba Airport Agreement makes no political concessions to Spain at all affecting our sovereignty, jurisdiction or control of OUR Airport and thus does not need amending. Mr. Bossano would destroy these gains for Gibraltar for no good reason!

ALLIANCE: A referendum if need be

We will seek an early meeting of the Trilateral Forum to raise issues on the understandings reached at Cordoba with which we are in disagreement.These are well known and we made our position clear once the content of these understandings were made public and explained.

The areas concerned are as follows:

(1) The Government building for the Cervantes Institute;

(2) Air terminal passport controls at the La Linea frontier;

(3) The management of the Terminal;

(4) The Joint Liaison Committee on the running of the airport.

We will enter into dialogue with Spain in good faith and on the premise that a Government that wishes to persuade us of its democratic credentials would not seek to threaten reprisals against our country because our policy has received legitimate democratic backing from our people.

All the indications that we have are that this is a reasonable assessment of the position. We can understand that it suits the GSD to try and scare people into voting for them by suggesting that a new Government with different policies would produce confrontation and hostility from Spain.

If that were true, which we do not believe to be the case, then it must raise doubts as to whether the concessions on the airport's operation are as innocent as people have been led to believe. If Spain is willing to abandon its alleged 'good will initiative' because we choose not to avail ourselves of the so called 'advance Schengen clearance', if that unlikely scenario were to materialise, then at least it would have served to remove the smokescreen and expose the true state of affairs.

In that event, we would come back to you, the people, explain the position, and hold a referendum on whether we should accept the terms dictated by Spain or not, with the consequences that this would carry with it.

PDP: Spanish officials will exert jurisdiction and control over passengers

We have welcomed various aspects of the Cordoba Agreements. In particular we support measures that break down historic Spanish restrictions on frontier flows and telecommunications. However those need to be kept under review because it is clear, from time to time, that frontier queues reappear or that Spain continues its campaign of harassment at various levels from our UEFA application to blocking a number of international Conventions because of Gibraltar. There are serious questions as to whether Spain is truly committed to a lasting commitment to achieve a new environment of respect for our rights.

We are committed to a policy of constructive dialogue with Spain and cooperation on matters of mutual interest and benefit. In Government therefore we would participate in such talks with Spain. Our ambition in talks would be to ensure beneficial cooperation on issues like the environment, health, culture and sport among others without compromising on our fundamental sovereignty position.

In relation to the 2006 Airport Agreement we remain concerned about the logistical arrangements of the new airport terminal and that the arrangements will mean that Spanish officials will exert jurisdiction and control over passengers physically in Gibraltar. In Government we would wish to maintain direct air links to Spain but would ensure that any logistical arrangements within our terminal do not undermine issues of jurisdiction and control over our land. That is perfectly possible and can be achieved without undermining or collapsing any process of dialogue with Spain.




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