Red ID Card Uncertainty

The interim arrangements that the Government had long told the public were in place pending negotiations for an EU Treaty are progressively being called into question. Some of the latest advice from the Government is deeply unsatisfactory. It should be possible for the Government to seek the relevant clarity from Spain to reassure people.

Given that the Chief Minister is in talks with Spain and has said that Gibraltar within “kissing distance” of an EU agreement it should not be impossible for people to expect the confirmation of clear interim good faith arrangements that are effective throughout Spain and that any uncertainty is cleared up promptly.

People need to have confidence about arrangements. Blue ID card holders have long suffered because the Government
were unable to get Spanish authorities to deliver on temporary arrangements that the Gibraltar Government had originally said were in place. Those arrangements fell away despite Government promises to Blue ID card holders. Now it is the turn of Red ID card holders to face uncertainty.

The latest contradictions are emerging as to the stamping of passports of Red ID card holders. The Government has maintained for some time that no stamping is necessary and reiterated that position in a press release of 22 February 2023. It said then:

“The Government understands that the position remains that Gibraltar red ID card holders should
not be stamped unless they are travelling for onward travel outside Spain, and that those crossing the border will not routinely be asked to provide a reason for travel.”

Now in the wake of people reporting concerns of being stopped and the risks of fines the Government’s advice in answer to press questions is that people should seek to get their passports stamped if going “ …beyond an area where the bridging measures are known to the Spanish authorities.” This is obviously unhelpful, vague and impossible to define by the ordinary citizen.

It is known that there has been a unilateral concession by Spain not to stamp passports of Red ID card holders. But surely this is equally capable of confirmation by the Spanish authorities in a way that delivers clarity. Advice such as that given by the Gibraltar Government simply accentuates uncertainty which the citizen cannot be expected to
resolve.