Government of Gibraltar
Press Office

No.6 Convent Place, Gibraltar                Tel: 70071     Fax: 74524

Press Release
No: 127/2001
Date: 02 August 2001

Spain offering a few thousands more Telephone Lines


The Government has noted Sr Pique`s remarks in the Spanish press that he is considering offering Gibraltar a few tens of thousands more telephone numbers. Sr Pique also suggested that Gibraltar had requested one million telephone numbers and also referred to what he calls "disloyal competition" from Gibraltar in telephone services. The Government has also noted Sr Pique`s remarks about possible Gibraltar participation in Brussels Agreement talks.

It is not for Spain to concede to Gibraltar any number of telephone lines or to ration Gibraltar`s telephone numbers according to its own assessment of our needs. Gibraltar has its own international numbering plan and Spain is simply required to recognise this and comply with its EU obligations. Sr Pique`s supposed offer falls well short of this. In any case, Gibraltar has not asked for one million or any other number of telephone numbers. We have asked for our telephone numbering plan not to be hampered by Spain. We have also asked for respect of our right under EU competition rules to mobile telephone roaming in Spain and to receive third country traffic that transits Spain`s network without hindrance.

 

Sr Pique has declared that Spain is motivated by a desire to prevent competition from Gibraltar in the telephone industry. The extent to which Gibraltar is able to compete with other parts of the EU (as they do with us here) in different commercial activities is a matter of EU law and not for Spain to decide unilaterally. However, Sr Pique`s remarks would appear to constitute a clear admission of the illegality of Spanish behaviour on this issue under EU competition rules.

 

It is unconscionable and unacceptable that 5 years after Gibraltar complained to the UK Government and to the EU Commission on these issues there has still not been effective action by either.

 

 

 

 

 

Sr Pique has chosen to mention the telephone issues and future Brussels Agreement talks in the same statement. This may mean that he sees a link between the two. It is, needless to say, completely unacceptable to the Government of Gibraltar that Brussels talks, or any other political process of dialogue with Spain should displace Gibraltar`s right to enforcement of and respect for our EU rights in accordance with EU law and procedures. The Gibraltar telephone companies` complaints to the EU Commission are not matters to be dealt with in the context of Brussels talks. Accordingly, these have to be satisfactorily resolved in accordance with our rights outside of talks under the Brussels agreement, given that the Brussels process is not an appropriate or acceptable forum to determine or condition our EU rights.

 

As is already well known, the Gibraltar Government looks forward to participating in dialogue which is not structured or billed as being purely bilateral between the UK and Spain, and in which Gibraltar has its own separate voice and also the security that nothing can be agreed without our explicit consent.

 

 


Last Revised : 03 August 2001