My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
The Question was as follows:
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Spanish Government has yet implemented the undertaking given by the Spanish Foreign Minister in London on 10th April to re-open the Spanish border with Gibraltar and to withdraw interference with the operation of aircraft into Gibraltar Airport.
My Lords, I regret that the Lisbon agreement has not yet been implemented. The matter was raised when my noble friend the Foreign Secretary met the new Spanish Foreign Minister in New York on 25th September; he reaffirmed his commitment to early implementation of the agreement.
My Lords, may I thank my noble friend for that reply? Will he say whether Her Majesty's Government are not deeply disappointed at this delay? Also, is he able to give any indication as to when in particular the restriction on air navigation is going to be removed?
My Lords, I can confirm that we are very disappointed that the Spaniards have not been able to move more quickly in this matter. We were certainly ready to implement our side of the arrangements by 1st June and we had indeed originally hoped that the Spaniards would also be in that position. However, it is fair to say that the Spanish Foreign Minister has only very recently taken up his post—some four weeks ago—and we hope that he will be able to make further progress in this matter very soon.
My Lords, while very much welcoming what the Minister has said, and also looking forward to Spain joining the European Economic Community, may I take it that the new Foreign Minister is in no doubt in his mind that the Spanish conduct—especially over aircraft and the border restrictions—is wholly at variance with that expected from any member of the European Economic Community, and these things must be cleared up long before that hoped-for event comes about?
My Lords, I have no doubt that this matter will be resolved long before Spanish accession to the European Community.