HC Deb 19 January 1982 vol 16 cc113-5W
Mr. Dykes

asked the Lord Privy Seal what was discussed with the President of the Government of Spain during his visit to London on 8 January; and what assurances have been given or received about access to Gibraltar when the frontier is reopened.

Mr. Humphrey Atkins

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had two hours of talks on 8 January at No. 10 Downing Street with the President of the Government of Spain, Senor Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo. She was accompanied by my right hon. and noble Friend. Senor Calvo Sotelo was accompanied by the Spanish Foreign Minister, Senor Perez-Llorca. The talks covered a range of internatioal and bilateral issues.

My right hon. Friend expressed Her Majesty's Government's unconditional support for Spain's accession to be reduced under international agreements; how it compares with the level of the United Kingdom tariff before United Kingdom entry into the Common Market; and whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the number and value of imports and exports of cars between the United Kingdom and the European Economic Community, and between the United Kingdom and non-EEC countries, for each year since 1970 and for September 1981 grossed up at an annual rate.

Mr. Sproat

[pursuant to his reply, 18 December 1981, c. 261]: The figures of imports and exports of cars in the years 1970, 1971 and 1972 should read:

to NATO and indicated Her Majesty's Government's intention to complete as soon as possible the procedures necessary for the acceptance of the protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty inviting Spain to join NATO. The text of this protocol was laid before the House on 18 January as a Command Paper.

My right hon. Friend warmly welcomed the prospect of Spain's entry into the European Community and there wis a wade-ranging discussion of the accession negotiations. Discussion of other international issues included the situation in Poland and East-West relations.

Bilateral relations were also discussed, including Gibraltar. Both Governments have agreed to start on 20 April 1982 the negotiations envisaged in the Lisbon statement of 10 April 1980 with the aim of overcoming all the differences between them on Gibraltar: on the same day, the border will be opened and direct communications will be re-established as provided for in the Lisbon statement. The British side have confirmed that the gates at the border with Spain will remain open 24 hours a day and that Spaniards have the right to stay overnight. Spanish workers in Gibraltar will also have equality with others similarly placed—that is non-European Community nationals—so far as employment, social security, salaries and the right to join trade unions are concerned.

Her Majesty's Government have been assured by the Spanish Government that, when on 20 April, in terms of the Lisbon statement, they suspend the measures at present in force, there will be direct communication by both vehicles and pedestrians and that there will be no special governmental restrictions on maritime and air communications. The issue of flights to and from Gibraltar will be dealt with in the framework of the 1950 Anglo-Spanish air services agreement without any extraneous restrictions. Furthermore, early practical steps will be taken in the interests of air safety to adjust the application of the Spanish prohibited airspace in such a way as not to impede the safe and effective use of Gibraltar airport.

Her Majesty's Government believe that the implementation of the Lisbon statement will open a new and hopeful chapter in Anglo-Spanish relations and that the developments which flow from that implementation will help to build up trust and friendship between the people of Gibraltar and those in the Campo area of Spain. As is made clear in the Lisbon statement, Her Majesty's Government fully maintain their commitment to honour the freely and democratically expressed wishes of the people of Gibraltar as set out in the preamble to the Gibraltar constitution.