Monday, October 17, 2005

Spain has no power of veto, says Caruana

Eastside Project

Gibraltar Government has already paid £842,000 in professional fees since 2003 in connection with the Eastside Development, Chief Minister Peter Caruana said yesterday in the House of Assembly.

The bulk of the payment has been sums of £462,000 and £359,000 to the Gibraltar Land Reclamation Company and Triay and Triay respectively.

Meanwhile responding to questions from Opposition spokesman Dr Joseph Garcia, and also to comments by Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos reported in the Spanish press, Mr Caruana said that whatever provisions for cross-border consultation and participation existed under the Environmental Impact Assessment directives (see links below), Spain would have no power of veto on the project.

“We will not abrogate any type of final sovereign decision to authorise the plan or not,” he declared.

Mr Caruana said that any suggestion that Spain might have any other role before anybody else is able to participate is wrong.

The Chief Minister once more explained the mechanics and application of an Environmental Impact Assessment and the provisions for cross-border consultation in cases of significant impact on the environment of a neighbouring country. He said the Gibraltar Government was not reluctant to share information with Spain and give them the opportunity to participate in the consultation process, but said there were huge projects going on in Crinavis and La Linea “within swimming distance of Western Beach” about which there had been no notification from Spain.

Mr Caruana said Spain was entitled to ask to participate and Gibraltar had a legal responsibility under EU directives to inform Spain of the measures that may be taken to reduce any material impact on the environment. Mr Caruana reiterated that Gibraltar scrupulously applied EU directives and also had the right to express its environmental concerns about projects in Spain.

Mr Caruana also said that the British Government had informed Spain that the Eastside Project is a matter for the Government of Gibraltar and that the environmental aspects “are matters of Laws of Gibraltar which fully transpose applicable EU obligations.”

Related Articles and Links:

Regulations 14 and 15 of Gibraltar’s Town Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, 2000

UNECE Protocol on SEA

European Union (EU) Directive on SEA (2001/42/EC) - transboundary consultations

28 July 2005 - Spain asks for consultation on Environmental Impact

26 July 2005 - Government responds to environmental impact assessment demands for Eastside Projects

26 July 2005 - Partido Andalucista voice objections to Eastside Development

27 January 2005 - Reactions in Spain - Juarez calls for environmental study into Eastside Project

26 January 2005 - Eastside Development first step taken for £1 Billion project

Gibraltar Government Press Release - 26 July 2005 - No: 178/2005

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