Date set for EU Gibraltar border traffic checks

Members of the Guardia Civil check cars as motorists queue to cross the border between Spain and Gibraltar in La Linea de la Concepcion on August 22, 2013
Image caption Spain imposed strict checks on cars at the Gibraltar border this summer

The legality of checks on traffic at the Spain-Gibraltar border will be assessed by the European Commission on 25 September, officials have confirmed.

Spain imposed strict checks at the border in protest at the creation of an artificial reef in disputed waters by the British territory's government.

The row led to diplomatic tensions between the UK, Gibraltar and Spain over the summer.

And there have been reports of violence at the border.

Earlier this month, a British man was arrested in Spain for allegedly putting photos of police and customs officers at the Gibraltar border online, calling officers "torturers" and appealing for people to protest against them.

Unions protest

There have been reports of missiles being thrown at Guardia Civil officers, and two unions organised a protest after an officer was injured by a Gibraltar-registered car that failed to stop.

On Tuesday a spokesman said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso had spoken with Spanish prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

"They decided that the mission - as was agreed on August 19 - will visit the border between Spain and Gibraltar, on 25 September to assess border controls and the free movement of people and goods, including fraud and smuggling.

"It was also agreed that the complaints made by Spain regarding the dumping of concrete blocks and re-sanding in the context of the Eastside project will be dealt with in parallel and with the necessary thoroughness by the European Commission."

Spain disputes UK sovereignty over Gibraltar, a limestone outcrop near the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, which has been ruled by Britain since 1713.

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