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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/69

Waiting times there are comparable with what they were before the introduction of freedom of movement.
Border formalities are obstructed mainly on the Spanish side.

What steps has the Commission taken or will it take to remove obstacles to tourist traffic on the Spanish-
British border of Gibraltar?

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(12 August 2002)

The crossing point between Gibraltar and Spain is not an internal border, implying the absence of controls,
but an external Schengen border; thus, controls on persons are permissible. Furthermore, since Gibraltar is
excluded from the Community common customs territory by virtue of Article 29 of the Act of the
Accession of the United Kingdom, checks on goods carried by travellers coming from Gibraltar are also

After having received numerous complaints, the Commission sent, on 30 October 2000, a letter of formal
notice to the Spanish Government drawing its attention to the fact that the checks at the crossing point
between Spain and Gibraltar might be disproportionate and, therefore, incompatible with Community law.

In its reply of 20 December 2000, the Spanish Government states that the checks carried out are necessary
and proportionate. According to the Spanish authorities, persons are required merely to show their
passport or identity card and cross practically without needing to stop. The control of goods carried by
travellers is implemented by means of random checks performed on not more than one in ten persons or
vehicles, with these searches taking not more than one minute in each case. On average, eight vehicles and
twenty pedestrians are allegedly cross the boundary line each minute in each direction. Nevertheless, the
Spanish Government accepts that, regrettably, queues form in the route for cars at certain times of day.

After careful examination of the reply of the Spanish Government and on the basis of the information
supplied by travellers and of further information the Commission has been able to gather, it is concluded
that no infringement of Community law is actually being committed.

On 19 March 2002, the Commission announced its intention to close its investigation regarding the
Gibraltar-Spanish frontier restrictions having found no evidence to legally support claims that the checks
carried out by the Spanish authorities on travellers and on goods carried by travellers are disproportionate
and therefore incompatible with Community law.

On 21 March 2002, the Spanish authorities opened a second lane for vehicles, which should have eased
the situation on the spot. Since then, Commission has not received any further complaints.

(2003/C 137 E/078) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2289/02

by Geoffrey Van Orden (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(25 July 2002)

Subject: Elections to the European Parliament in 2004

Will the reduced allocation of seats in the European Parliament (as agreed at Nice) be introduced for the
elections to the European Parliament in 2004? Will the UK’s allocation therefore be cut from 87 seats to
72 for June 2004?

If the allocation of seats to the UK is to be reduced, what will be the regional basis for the reallocation of
the seats?
C 137 E/70 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(9 October 2002)

The Treaty of Nice stipulates that the maximum number of Members of Parliament will in future be 732.
Under Article 2 of the Protocol on the enlargement of the European Union, which is annexed to the Treaty
of Nice, the number of Members for the UK as of 2004 will be 72. However, under the third paragraph of
Article 2 of the said Protocol, if the total number of Members of Parliament to be elected is lower than
732, the number of Members for election in each Member State will be adjusted proportionately for the
2004-2009 term of office, so as to bring the total as close as possible to 732. The exact number of
Members of Parliament to be elected in 2004 in each Member State under the above-mentioned provisions
will be decided by the Council.

The allocation of seats in Parliament within each Member State is currently governed by national
provisions. The Commission recalls that on 12 June 2002 Parliament gave its assent to the draft Council
Decision amending the Act concerning the election of representatives of the European Parliament by direct
universal suffrage (A5-0225/2002), which provides, inter alia, that Members of Parliament are elected on a
proportional representation basis, but that ‘in accordance with its specific national situation, each Member
State may establish constituencies … or subdivide its electoral area in a different manner, without affecting
the essentially proportional nature of the voting system’. It is thus for each Member State to decide for
itself, in accordance with these provisions, whether to establish regional constituencies, and, if so, on what

(2003/C 137 E/079) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2314/02

by Françoise Grossetête (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(19 July 2002)

Subject: Legal implications of marriages between EU citizens of different nationalities

In the European Union there are many marriages between partners who are nationals of different Member
States, which raises a number of legal questions, including the following:

Where two Europeans of different nationalities marry, can the partners acquire dual nationality on the
basis of the marriage certificate if they so wish?

Where two EU citizens of different nationalities marry, what, in the opinion of the Commission, is the
legal value of a private agreement signed by the two partners regarding parental authority or responsibility
for a child born of the marriage?

If no firm decisions have yet been taken on these matters, what approach does the Commission propose to
take to these issues arising from the differing marital and family laws in the Member States?

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(23 September 2002)

As regards the acquisition of dual nationality by marriage between two Community nationals of different
nationalities, the Commission would inform the Honourable Member that there are no Community rules
on the acquisition of nationality. The ways in which nationality is acquired and the conditions under
which this takes place are governed by the national rules of each Member State.

The Honourable Member raises the issue of the legal status of a private document signed by both parents,
in the context of marriage between two Community nationals of different nationalities, regarding parental
responsibility for a child born of this marriage. Although such a situation is not governed by Community
rules, the question of the basis for parental responsibility is referred to in the Commission’s proposal on