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Spain vs. Gibraltar: Overflowing Border Shows Their Deteriorating Relationship

Motorists wait in line at the border crossing between Spain and Gibraltar on Monday blasted a Spanish threat to impose a 50-euro ($66) car toll at the border with the tiny British-held territory as North Korean-style "sabre rattling".  It was the latest in a string of spats going back decades between Spain and Gibraltar, frequently sparked by disputes over fishing rights around the British outpost that Madrid wants to reclaim as its own.      (Getty Images)

Motorists wait in line at the border crossing between Spain and Gibraltar on Monday blasted a Spanish threat to impose a 50-euro ($66) car toll at the border with the tiny British-held territory as North Korean-style “sabre rattling”. It was the latest in a string of spats going back decades between Spain and Gibraltar, frequently sparked by disputes over fishing rights around the British outpost that Madrid wants to reclaim as its own. (Getty Images)

Tensions between Spain and the small British-reigned territory of Gibraltar have escalated and its shared border is making the deteriorating relationship obvious. Lines and lines of cars on the border between mainland Spain and the tiny corner of Britain, located on the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, have caused major delays for tourists and locals. Spain has also stated that it is considering a new 50 euro fee to cross the border. This is the latest in a string of aggressive tit-for-tats between the two territories.

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It all began when Gilbrater dumped concrete into its coast in an attempt to allegedly create an artificial reef to protect marine life. Spain, however, does not believe eco-conservation to be the reason behind the concrete dumping. According to reports, Spain alleges Gibraltar’s action was an aggressive attempt to stop Spanish boats and fisherman from fishing near their waters. Spain’s recent tightening on border control is thought to be a reaction to this although the Spanish government has claimed it is only trying to “control fiscal fraud and smuggling.”


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Now Gibraltar is considering legal action against Spain and is preparing a dossier of evidence about its worsening border . Joseph Garcia, deputy first minister of the British overseas territory, told the Guardian that “cases could be brought against Spain in either the European courts of justice or the European court of human rights, and predicted the situation will get worse before it gets better”.

Spain has long named claim on the small territory of Gibraltar and the tumultuous history with the British territory goes way back. Spain handed Gibraltar to Britain in the peace treaty of Utrecht in 1715. In 1940, Dictator Francisco franco took the land back in the 1950’s and closed the border for 13 years. In a referendum in 1967, Gibraltians voted overwhelmingly to remain under brithis sovereignty and in 2002 99% of Gibraltians rejected the prospect of shared sovereigny with Spain. The small territory’s economy is largely based on tourism, online gaming, financial services and shipping.

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