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Territorial Waters

Volume 492: debated on Tuesday 19 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made in talks between his Department and representatives of (a) Spain and (b) Gibraltar on territorial waters; and if he will make a statement. (276331)

There have been no recent talks between the UK and either Spain or Gibraltar on the sovereignty of territorial waters. The Government are fully confident of its sovereignty over British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) and continues to make this clear to Spain whenever appropriate.

However, the UK has made written and oral representations to Spain regarding European Commission Decision 2009/95/EC. Under the decision, Spain has put forward a site of community importance under the Habitats Directive which encompasses BGTW, including an existing site designated by the UK under the same directive. As the UK is the only member state competent to propose a site covering BGTW, we do not recognise the validity of the adopted site. The UK is deeply concerned that Spain should seek to designate an area of BGTW and that this designation should have been approved.