Skip to main content

Gibraltar (Mixed Competence Conventions)

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

I wish to make a statement to the House on the issue of mixed competence conventions. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Hoon) the then Minister for Europe, reported to this House in April 2007, the outstanding issue blocking the ratification of a number of mixed competence conventions by the EU was the arrangements for communicating with competent authorities in Gibraltar which Spain had questioned.

I am delighted that, with the agreement of the Government of Gibraltar and in the spirit of ongoing co-operation, we have now concluded a set of arrangements with Spain which will allow the EU to move ahead and ratify all such instruments. Among the conventions covered are the 1996 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and the 2001 Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and its protocol on aircraft.

In future under the ‘Agreed arrangements relating to Gibraltar authorities in the context of mixed agreements’ a system of ‘post-boxing’ will apply for communications between Spanish and Gibraltar authorities but not for communications between the authorities of other states and Gibraltar. The same arrangements will also apply for communications between Gibraltar and Spain in the context of the ‘Agreed arrangements relating to Gibraltar authorities in the context of certain international treaties’.

I am placing copies of the two exchanges of letters in the Library of the House.