Gib ‘dismisses’ Spanish ambassador’s aviation suggestions
Gibraltar has dismissed suggestions that the diplomatic impasse holding up EU aviation legislation could be resolved by excluding the Gibraltar dossier from any proposed agreement on common airspace.
Instead it argued that the solution lies in the application of European Union aviation measures to its airport in accordance with Gibraltar’s status under European Union law.
This follows comments made by the Spanish ambassador to the Ukraine, Gerardo Angel Bugallo Ottone, to a specialist magazine over a potential fix to the issue.
In the latest issue of Air Traffic Management magazine, Sr Ottone said the Gibraltar dossier was not only delaying Ukraine but also countries such as Brazil, which has been prevented from signing an open skies agreement for the same reason.
“The fact is that Spain and Britain have an unresolved judicial dispute concerning Gibraltar, and when it will be resolved is unknown,” he said.
“But Spain offers a very simple way, which will help resolve the issue for Ukraine and other countries that want to sign an open skies agreement with the EU – to make it a separate item, which discounts the issue of the airport until the resolution of litigation between Spain and the United Kingdom.”
In response Daniel D’Amato, legal officer with the Gibraltar Government in the Brussels office, told the publication that the problem stems from the Spanish government’s “wrongful insistence” on excluding Gibraltar airport from the scope of EU aviation legislation.
“The EU cannot continue to act as a bystander in what it regards as a ‘sovereignty dispute’ whilst failing to apply the laws which Spain subscribes to as an EU Member State,” he said.
“In fact, in this context, it is worth highlighting that only last year the international Court of Arbitration for Sport determined that “the allegation that Gibraltar is a ‘disputed’ and/or ‘sensitive’ territory… is legally and factually misplaced” unequivocally concluding that “under public international law the sovereignty of Gibraltar is clearly British” and that “there is no actual legal dispute presently pending”.
“Therefore, the Spanish ambassador’s comments concerning an alleged “litigation between Spain and the United Kingdom” or an apparent “unresolved judicial dispute concerning Gibraltar” are simply false,” he continued.
He added that the United Kingdom and Spain have previously agreed the terms of a political solution which allowed EU civil aviation measures to be applied to Gibraltar airport – the 2006 Cordoba Agreement, which was abandoned by Spain in 2011.
He said Gibraltarian authorities “share the frustration that many stakeholders are voicing but it regrets the fact that not enough is being said … to focus attention on the Spanish Government’s use of the EU to advance its misconceived sovereignty claim over Gibraltar in a manner which holds the EU aviation industry and the Ukraine aviation industry to ransom.”
Mr D’Amato said there are two options to resolve the current impasse.
Firstly by applying all civil aviation legislation to Gibraltar Airport without prejudice to the respective legal positions of the UK and Spain about the land on which the airport is built.
Another alternative is not to mention Gibraltar specifically by name in the proposed legislation, he told the magazine.