Monday, October 17, 2005

Schengen concerns lie at heart of Airport talks

Dominique Searle reports

As the likelihood increases that trilateral ministerial talks will not take place until the New Year it has emerged that one of the key areas being focused on in discussions on the airport is how passengers are processed when moving in and out of the Schengen area.

This means access into Spain that then allows free entry into most of Europe.

Particularly sensitive will be dealing with non-EU travellers heading to Spain.
The talks continue to seek protocols that will operate and how passengers can be jointly managed so that Schengen requirements are met.

As stated by Spain at the UN the concept is that once the issues are agreed trilaterally they will then be ratified by the two sovereignty states, UK-Spain.

But what is increasingly seen as a sensitive element is the question of the position taken on the process by the PP (Partido Popular). Despite calls from Andalucia PP leader Javier Arenas, the issue is expected to be treated at a higher level in Madrid. PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol - The ruling Government Party in Spain) are keen to remind the PP that it had entered a process aimed at resolving the Gibraltar question as Spain sees it and that there should be a common stance.

Key to this will not only be the reaction in the Campo to the expanded use of the airport and the economic benefit that will bring but a resolution of the Spanish pensions issue. Any agreements reached will also have to be put to the pensioners themselves.

Resolution of telecommunications issues is said to be progressing.

Whilst works continue at the Spanish side of the border on the facilities there Spain is trying to agree a method that would allow faster processing of people crossing. Madrid essentially has been seeking some process by which regular border crossers can be distinguished from genuine tourists for customs purposes.

Related Articles and Links:

The Schengen Convention

15 October 2005 - ‘Concessions’ for Airport deal, but not on any fundamentals - Caruana

14 October 2005 - Arenas condemns Tripartite Forum

01 September 2005 - Bossano rejects Spanish participation in Gibraltar Airport

31 August 2005 - Spain wants to have its own police in Gibraltar's airport

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