HC Deb 15 March 1999 vol 327 c441W
Mr. Austin

To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with the Prime Minister of Spain about Gibraltar with particular reference to(a) frontier delays and (b) the allegations made by the Spanish Foreign Minister about criminal activity in Gibraltar; and if he will make a statement. [76659]

The Prime Minister

In the last month, I have discussed the delays at the Gibraltar/Spain border twice with the Spanish Prime Minister, Sr. Aznar, most recently on 25 February. I made it clear that we regarded the delays as unacceptable and unjustifiable.

The Spanish Foreign Minister's remarks were made after my meeting on 25 February. I have not discussed them with Sr. Aznar. Sr. Aznar's staff handed over on 26 February a paper referring to some alleged cases of criminal activity in Gibraltar. We have been looking into these allegations, together with the relevant Gibraltar authorities, and expect to respond very shortly.

Dr. Marek

To ask the Prime Minister what reasons underlie the length of time taken to grant to Gibraltar the ability to passport financial services. [76581]

The Prime Minister

In June 1997, after discussion with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission was authorised to "passport" Gibraltar-based insurance companies to operate in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the European Union. Authorisation for "passporting" in the fields of banking and investment services will be granted when the relevant financial services regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom are satisfied that Gibraltar has introduced the necessary legislation and regulatory structure and procedures.