The UK has accused Spain of “political point-scoring” amid a row over whether Gibraltar should be included in a new EU-wide aviation agreement.
BBC.com with the British point of view–UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Madrid was trying to “force negotiations” over Gibraltar’s sovereignty as part of talks over modernising European airspace. Mr Hammond has spoken to his Italian counterpart to express his concerns. But Spain said the future of Gibraltar was of “vital territorial interest”. Spain has contested the UK’s claim to Gibraltar – a British overseas territory – for centuries, but tensions have increased markedly this year amid a row over fishing rights. The Foreign Office has said there have been more than 600 Spanish incursions into British waters since the start of 2013.
The two countries are now at odds over the issue of Gibraltar’s inclusion in the latest phase of the EU’s Single European Sky project, which seeks to make air traffic management more efficient and harmonise standards. In a strongly worded statement, Mr Hammond said Spain was unwilling to agree that the latest package of proposals, which will reform the delivery of air navigation services, should apply to Gibraltar and was holding up their ratification.
Read more on BBC.com: UK in Row with Spain Over Aviation Agreement