EU to monitor Spain-Gibraltar border

File photo shows the border crossing between Spain and the British territory Gibraltar.

European Union monitors are set to inspect the customs and alleged smuggling at the border between Spain and Gibraltar after the UK prime minister urged action.

Amid complaints of long waits and the Spanish government™s accusations of drug cartels taking advantage of loose controls at the border, the European Commission on Tuesday said it will send a team next week to oversee the operations on site.

The EU executive body™s spokesman Olivier Bailly said in an online post: “An EU Commission mission will be at Spain-Gibraltar border on the 25th of September, to check border, free movement of people/goods, including smuggling.”

Back in August, British Prime Minister David Cameron stressed the immediate need for an observer mission from the Commission.

Tensions between Britain and Spain have escalated in recent weeks over the introduction of new strict border controls for Gibraltarians trying to enter Spain, which led to waits of up to five hours for motorists.

The 6.8-square-kilometer disputed British territory, known as the Rock, says Spain™s border checks are in retaliation for the creation of an artificial reef in the nearby waters by the Gibraltar government that has negatively affected the incomes of Spanish fishermen.

The territory, Britain seized from Spain in 1713, remains a bone of contention between the two European countries.

GVN/MOL/HE

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