Press release

Foreign Secretary concern at Spain’s ‘political point-scoring’

The Foreign Secretary has raised concerns about this week’s EU negotiation on aviation legislation.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond has called Foreign Minister Gentiloni of Italy, which currently holds the EU Presidency, to express Britain’s concern about the process for agreeing EU aviation legislation Single European Sky 2 plus (SESII+), which has been delayed because Spain has refused to recognise that Gibraltar must be included in the legislation.

Commenting after the call, the Foreign Secretary said:

I made it clear to Italian Foreign Minister Gentiloni that this legislation cannot progress until the issue of Gibraltar is resolved. I underlined that an important piece of legislation for Member States and industry had been held up by political-point scoring on the part of the Spanish. British sovereignty over Gibraltar is an issue outside the competence of the EU, and a distraction. We are confident that the EU will have no option but to follow its own laws and apply the legislation to Gibraltar.

Spain is trying to use this EU process to force sovereignty negotiations on Gibraltar. Let there be no doubt. The UK will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another State against their wishes. Nor will we enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content.

Until the text of the SESII+ file is resolved and the act adopted, the existing SESII legislation, which includes Gibraltar, will continue to apply.

Further information

  1. On 3 December the EU Transport Council agreed significant elements of the Single European Sky 2 plus (SESII+) package of aviation legislation, which will reform the delivery of air navigation services.
  2. The Council did not decide on the application of the legislation to Gibraltar as Spain was unwilling to recognise the Gibraltar must be included in EU transport legislation.
  3. The legislation cannot be adopted until the text has been agreed.

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Published 5 December 2014