The deadlock over Gibraltar’s inclusion in EU aviation agreements could be costing Europe as much as 400 million euros annually in lost business opportunities, the European Commission has revealed.
The figure was calculated in respect of a stalled aviation deal between the EU and Ukraine and is based on a study dating back to 2005.
But it signals the scale of the economic impact of failing to push ahead with key EU aviation agreements and packages, adding to the pressure to resolve the stalemate over Gibraltar’s inclusion in those deals.
Spain’s Partido Popular government argues that Gibraltar’s airport is situated on a disputed isthmus and must be left out of the EU’s aviation agreements.
But in doing so, it is reneging on an agreement reached by the previous PSOE administration under the trilateral process and sealed in the Cordoba accord in 2006.
The UK and Gibraltar insist that the Rock must be included all aviation deals, in line with EU treaty obligations and Spain’s commitment under the Cordoba agreement.
Europe’s aviation industry has voiced mounting concern at the impasse and said last month that the delays had become “unsustainable” to the detriment of consumers.
Industry associations had hoped for a resolution at last week’s meeting of EU transport ministers but, with the UK embroiled in the run-up to the EU referendum and Spain in the midst of a general election campaign, no progress is likely for some time.
Now, public confirmation of the scale of the economic impact will add to their frustration.
The figure was revealed by Transport Commissioner Violet Bulc in response to a question in the European Parliament from Spanish MEP Ramon Tremosa i Balcells.
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