title: 'Gibraltar tensions flare proposed 50 euro border fee' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:

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    Relations between the UK and Spain have come under further strain after David Cameron said he was concerned about events on the Spanish border with Gibraltar. Britainís foreign office is seeking clarification of reports that Spain is considering introducing a 50-euro border fee.†VoRís Brendan Cole reports. The new developments are part of a long-running dispute over territorial waters. It makes Londonersí complaints about their cityís £10 congestion charge seem petty in comparison. Spainís foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told the big circulation daily ABC his government was toying with the idea of charging a 50-euro fee both to enter andleave Gibraltar. Red herring? Dominique Searle is the editor of the Gibraltar Chronicle. He said the Spanish government was trying to create a distraction from its faltering economy: For days now, traffic has been snarled up at the border crossing as zealous Spanish officials carry out vehicle searches. Artifical reef the real issue Spainís authorities insist it is to combat smuggling but most see it as a response to Gibraltarís building an artificial reef which Madrid says infringes the rights of its fishermen. Dominique Searle says people in Gibraltar are anxious at the rhetoric coming from Spain. Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo also mooted a series of other measures. These include a tax probe into the properties owned by Gibraltarians in Spain and closing Spanish airspace to flights headed to Gibraltar. Gibraltarís chief minister Fabian Picardo has accused Spain of acting like North Korea. The date of the Mr Garcia-Margalloís interview was significant, coming as it did on August 4, the anniversary of the British arrival in Gibraltar in 1704. This year is also the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht which gave Britain control of the territory. Do Spaniards care? Madrid-based journalist Martin Roberts said that the issue of Gibraltarís sovereignty is not on the minds of most Spaniards. The EU has been trying to settle the dispute over fishing rights, but is not expecting a breakthrough in the short term. With the prospect of a 100 euro daily charge for workers - more than most earn in a day ĖBritainís foreign office is pushing for answers from Spain, as Martin Roberts explains. The British government says it will not negotiate over sovereignty as long as Gibraltar's people want to remain British.

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