In my written ministerial statement of
The UK Government launched a legal case against the Commission’s decision in the European General Court on
The Government are disappointed by the judgment of the Court of Justice. However, this ruling is, like that of the General Court, on technical grounds and is not a judgment on the substantive points which were raised in the Government’s case. The judgment does not mean that the UK Government recognise the Spanish Estrecho Oriental SCI listing. Nor does it confer any rights on
Spain within British Gibraltar territorial waters. We are confident of the UK’s sovereignty over British Gibraltar territorial waters. The Court’s judgment does not change that. Nor is our position on sovereignty changed by the Spanish Government’s announcement on
We would take a grave view of any attempts by Spain to exert any authority or control within British Gibraltar territorial waters as part of implementation of an SAC management plan or for any other reason. Any attempt by a Spanish state vessel, or vessel acting on behalf of the Spanish state, to exercise jurisdiction within British Gibraltar territorial waters is a violation of British sovereignty and we will respond accordingly. We will continue to take whatever action we consider necessary to protect British sovereignty and the interests of Gibraltar, its people and economy.
Following the judgment of the Court of Justice and the announcement of Spain’s SAC we are taking urgent steps, in consultation with HM Government of Gibraltar, to explore all further legal and political options to remove the Spanish listing and protect British and Gibraltar’s interests. I will continue to inform the House of significant developments on this issue.