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Ana Palacio's Comments Over Gibraltar's EU Status Dismissed

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

14 August 2002


The suggestion made by Spanish Foreign Minister, Ana Palacio last month that Gibraltar is not part of the EU has been dismissed by the European Commission, the Iberia News service reported on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference in late July with regard to the the dispute with Morocco over Ceuta and Melilla, Ms Palacio refused to draw parallels between the two high profile territory conflicts, arguing that while the two cities represent European Union terrritory: 'This is not the case of Gibraltar. Gibraltar is not the territory of the European Union.'

However, responding to a letter from Iberia News, EC spokesperson, Elizabeth Tapper confirmed that this is, in fact, not the case.

'Gibraltar became part of the European Community on 1st January, 1973 by virtue of Article 227.4 of the EEC Treaty as then numbered.' She explained, continuing:

'The provisions of this Treaty shall apply to the European territories for whose external relations a Member State is responsible...Article 5 goes on to exempt from this provision the Faroe Islands, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the Sovereign Base areas of Cyprus. There was no exemption for Gibraltar which thus automatically joined the Community.'

A meeting with US Secretary of State, Colin Powell is scheduled for this week. Ms Palacio is expected to reiterate the Spanish position that there are no parallels between the situation surrounding Ceuta and Melilla and that surrounding Gibraltar.


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