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EU To Investigate Gibraltar Customs Procedures


European Commission inspectors will today, September 25, begin a fact-finding mission at the Gibraltar/Spain border after concerns were raised about checks and smuggling.

Experts from the European Commission services for Home Affairs, Customs Union, Justice and the European Anti-Fraud office will take part in the mission. They will look at the installations and checks carried out at the entry and exit of persons and goods on both sides of the border, as well as issues related to alleged smuggling. The Commission will then decide if further action is necessary.

Gibraltar has been in the European Union (EU) since 1973 as part of the UK's membership. EU law is applicable in Gibraltar, but Gibraltar is excluded from the Customs Union, Common Commercial Policy, Common Agriculture Policy, Common Fisheries Policy, and the requirement to levy value-added tax. Spain is therefore requested by the EU to carry out checks on people and goods. These checks must be deemed proportionate, and fully respect EU law.

Last month, the Commission warned Spain that it would be breaking EU law if it imposed an entry tax on the Gibraltar border. Spain said at the time that it would use the proceeds from the EUR50 (USD67) levy to help Spanish fishermen who have been negatively affected by an artificial reef erected by the British territory.