The Government is proceeding with a permit system for EU hauliers to continue to be able to operate into Gibraltar following the new requirements imposed as from today for Gibraltar hauliers to be able to operate in Spain.
A number of Gibraltar-registered commercial vehicles, driven by British Citizens including Gibraltarians, have been turned back at the border this morning by the Spanish border authorities. The drivers of such vehicles have been informed that they need to register in Spain, or in a Member State of the European Union, for employment purposes in order to carry out commercial activity over there.
This measure is aimed specifically at non-resident third country nationals to the EU because the issue appears to be with the nationality of the driver. EU drivers who are employed in Gibraltar have been allowed to continue to operate in Spain.
The departure of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar from the European Union and the end of the transition brought to a close the legal framework of the EU under which our hauliers operated throughout EU territory on the basis of their Community Licences. The Government reminded the industry in 2020 as the transitional period drew to an end to make the necessary preparations.
However, despite having no obligation to do so, the Government preserved domestic legislation which allowed EU hauliers to continue to operate in Gibraltar. In exchange, Gibraltar hauliers have been allowed to continue to operate in Spain and the EU while a new treaty on the future relationship is being negotiated. This is known as reciprocity.
The existing reciprocal arrangements have sadly now been broken by the other side. Therefore, Gibraltar will now move to the new reciprocal arrangement which is to introduce a system of registration and permits for EU hauliers. It is important to emphasise the point that EU road haulage operators will not be able to operate in the territory of Gibraltar unless they have been issued with a Gibraltar road haulage permit as from the date that the new regime enters into force.
The extension to Gibraltar of the only alternative international legal framework to EU law based on the ECMT and Interbus agreements remains blocked by the EU and Spain.
A number of meetings between affected parties and the Government have taken place and a number of suggestions have been put forward. The Government is therefore currently devising the new permit regime with the benefit of the input provided by those affected. The new measures, as previously advised, will only be introduced after allowing time for further information and communication with those affected.