You will know when it exists -- Obscure journalism direct from our man on the ground.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Solving Gibraltar's border crisis

The UK papers have today been running a story based on a newsworthy quote from the chief minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo.

He is reported to have said Spain were 'acting like North Korea' and 'sabre rattling'. This was in response to Spain's Foreign Minister José García Margallo who the day earlier said he was considering implementing a €50 fee for every vehicle entering or leaving The Rock through the Spanish border.

Much of the row stems from border checks by Spanish police causing long tail backs, meaning people remain stuck in their cars for hours in extreme heat.  

A lot of the reactions I have seen to this on comments sections and social media have been far from constructive.

So seeing as I was there and experienced the huge traffic jams at the border first hand I decided I should propose a solution. I am not saying this is the solution, it's just an idea.

A considered entry fee system to benefit Gibraltar and Spain

To begin with, I think a fee for vehicles to cross the border is a good idea. I've seen people arguing that this is against some EU right on freedom of movement. But without even checking I'm sure a right of movement does not automatically give you the right of movement by car!

Crossing the border would remain free for pedestrians and cyclists.

Also disabled persons would be allowed free entry and there would be concessions for the elderly. Reductions could also exist by purchasing monthly or yearly passes, this would be useful for businesses that need to make deliveries.

A huge car-park could be built in La Linea near the border, there are many suitable sites. 

Proposed sites for border-side car-park

This would create additional parking attendant jobs in the adjacent town and provide a new revenue stream for the local council.

Gibraltar could invest in improving its own public transport system and a ticketing scheme could work in conjunction with the border-side car park (park and ride). This would promote cross country collaboration.

The money Gibraltar would lose from the sale of cheap tobacco, alcohol and fuel could be made back by an increase in tourism. 

My Grandad told me that Gibraltar was the worst place he had ever visited. He said he would never go back, after stopping there briefly on a cruise holiday. 

If they cleaned up their fly infested, rubbish strewn beaches and helped La Linea to do the same the whole area might begin to get a better reputation.

Gibraltar is roughly 3 miles long with the main town located less than a mile from the border. Getting around without a motorised vehicle is easy.

It seems to me to be a better option than what we are currently seeing:


  1. Man, you have some very good ideas here, and I believe your proposal could indeed work. Amazing none of our politicians both from Gibraltar and Spain have thought of anything similar.

    1. Thanks a lot, really appreciate the feedback and I'm happy to know somebody else concurs. I think that the problem with the people deeply involved, such as politicians, is that they are too tangled up in the mess of it all to see that the problem may not actually be so hard to solve.

      If only they could take a step back and look at the situation from a more removed perspective. But I imagine that is easier said than done.

      In fact maybe they should employ some experts to analyse the situation and suggest solutions. I know that Gehl Architects have done some great things in the field of urban research vis-à-vis quality of life

    2. Thank you for writing. There are probably many interests from both parties that prefer things to stay as they are now. Politics suck! Since you have been there, I wanted to ask, is it true that Spaniards bully the Gibraltarians at all time? Pro-Gibraltar's media usually reports on abuses and beatings by the Guardia Civil and the Spanish police on British Gibraltarians, and I was wondering to what extend is that true.

  2. I wouldn't really know the answer to your question because I am not Gibraltarian. I am English. All the Spanish people that I met in La Linea were really nice. The police on the other hand were not so nice, as I experienced in an incident that I documented on this blog here:
    and here:
    I suppose the Guardia Civil disliking the Anglophones could go some way in explaining what happened on the night described in these posts!