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Spain wants to halt development on eastside reclamation

Spain will collect evidence and explore legal steps to halt the construction of buildings on land which Madrid says has been illegally reclaimed from the sea by Gibraltar, according to a response to a question in the Spanish parliament.

The response drew a scathing reaction from the Gibraltar Government, which said the waters are “indisputably” British and that the European Union had already acknowledged that the project was in line with EU law.

No.6 Convent place said it would not tolerate any interference in the scheme.

“The European Commission has already confirmed that Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar has created the Eastside reclamation properly and in keeping with EU law,” a spokesman for No.6 Convent Place told the Chronicle.

“The reclamation is in waters which are recognised as indisputably British under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

“We will therefore broach no external interference in the proper development of the Eastside.”

“Ironically, such a development will likely create thousands of jobs, many of which may be taken by Spanish citizens.”

The question in the Spanish Congress was tabled by Ciudadanos and sought the Spanish Government’s view on the proposed affordable homes project situated on the eastside reclamation.

In the response, the Spanish Government said it had made a formal protest about the project when it was first announced in 2017.

But it also signalled its intention to step up its opposition to the scheme using diplomatic and legal means.

“The government will continue to take all the measures at its disposal within international law and diplomatic practice in order to defend Spanish sovereignty of the waters,” the Spanish Government said in the response.

“In addition to bilateral protests and the defence of its position within the multilateral frameworks of the United Nations and the European Union, Spain will continue working to dissuade third parties [from any involvement in the project].”

“Spanish authorities will continue to collect information in this respect to use the legal means within their reach to try and stop any type of construction or urban development in waters illegally reclaimed from the sea.”

MAIN IMAGE: Artist's impression of the proposed development on the eastside reclamation.