§ Ms Quin
We reached an understanding with the Spanish Government in October on the situation that prevailed from 1991 to 1997, when fishing in British waters around Gibraltar took place in moderation and the fishermen respected the authority of the Gibraltar law enforcement agencies. We agreed with the Spanish Government that we should revert to that situation. We nevertheless faced continuing difficulties on the water. On 27 January a Spanish fishing vessel was arrested. Fishermen demonstrated at the border on 29 January, preventing movement through it. We protested to the Spanish authorities about this. The fishermen and the Chief Minister of Gibraltar reached agreement on 3 February that satisfied them both, building on the understanding we had reached with Spain. These new arrangements have been working well in practice. We hope that they succeed in sorting out a problem that was causing difficulties in the region and in relations with Spain. We have always taken the view that any lasting solution to this problem must involve dialogue and cooperation at the local level.
§ Ms Quin
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke on the telephone to the Spanish Foreign Minister on this subject on 11 February. The Embassy in Madrid has also raised it on several occasions recently with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have made it clear to the Spanish authorities that such delays are unjustifiable and unacceptable and that we look to them to allow movement across the border in conformity with EU obligations. We have also drawn the situation to the attention of the President of the European Commission.