HL Deb 29 January 1992 vol 534 c1303
Lord Boyd-Carpenter

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Spanish Government have now accepted that their ban on the renewal of the ferry service between Algeciras and Gibraltar is contrary to their obligations as a member of the European Community.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (The Earl of Caithness)

My Lords, no. We believe that the Spanish ban in preventing the renewal of the ferry service runs counter to the spirit of the new Europe that we are trying to create, but is not in breach of Spain's legal obligations in the Community.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, in the light of that Answer, can my noble friend say what line the Government are proposing to take? Are they simply going to acquiesce in Spanish defiance of the spirit of the Community, or will they take some action to bring it home to the Spanish Government that they cannot get away with this kind of thing?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, we continue to press the Spanish on this matter. As my noble friend will know from previous Questions, in their minds they have linked it to the question of the airport which we do not believe is correct. In our annual meetings with the Spanish—the next one is due to be held in Spain at a date as yet not agreed—we shall continue to press on this matter.

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos

My Lords, we have had a number of exchanges in the House on this subject without any apparent change in the Spanish attitude. Can the noble Earl say whether there is any prospect that the Spanish will sign the draft external frontier convention, which is necessary and is part of their duty? Can he say whether there has been yielding in the Spanish position on this matter over the past two years?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I cannot answer the noble Lord's first question. With regard to his second question, there has been no give in the Spanish position on this matter.

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