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UK to EU: Urgently send monitors to Spain-Gibraltar border

Source: Reuters - Fri 16th Aug 2013
UK to EU: Urgently send monitors to Spain-Gibraltar border

British PM David Cameron on Friday asked European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to "urgently" send monitors to Gibraltar's border with Spain where tightened security checks are fuelling a row between the 2 countries.

Cameron raised the matter in a phone call with Barroso on Friday, saying he had serious concerns that these extra checks were "politically motivated and disproportionate" and "illegitimate" under EU laws.

"We believe that the European Commission, as guardian of the treaties, should investigate the issue," said a spokesman from Cameron's office.

Cameron's intervention reflects growing British frustration that a row over an artificial reef built by Gibraltar, a contested British overseas territory, has become one of the worst in years between the 2 EU member states with no sign of ending.

Spain argued that the reef would disrupt its fishing industry and subsequently tightened up checks at its border with Gibraltar, resulting in delays of several hours for residents and tourists.

The EU executive previously said it planned to send a team of monitors to Gibraltar next month to check whether Spain was breaking EU rules on frontier controls, but the spokesman said Cameron had asked Barroso to ensure it was sent "urgently".