The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties (EP) supported on Wednesday the provisional agreement on visas with the United Kingdom after the "brexit" (British exit of the EU block) which includes a mention of Gibraltar as a "colony".
The MEPs gave their approval, with 38 votes in favor, 8 against and 3 abstentions, to the political agreement sealed with the Council of the European Union (Member States) on Tuesday on the exemption of visas for Britons if a "brexit" happens without an exit agreement next April 12.
Thus, always on the basis of London adopting a similar measure for Europeans, Britons traveling to the European space free of borders (Schengen) for short stays (90 days in a maximum period of 180 days) can access without a visa.
That agreement also includes, according to parliamentary sources, a footnote in which Gibraltar is called a "colony".
The Civil Liberties Committee also backed the decision to remove the negotiation of the text with the Council, before the controversy over the Gibraltar point, the British Claude Moraes as representative of the European Parliament by 26 votes in favor, 16 against and 3 abstentions .
Moraes, a socialist and chairman of the parliamentary commission, handed over his post on Monday to his Bulgarian counterpart Sergei Stanishev, vice-president of that commission.
Stanishev, who concluded the negotiation of the agreement with the representatives of the Member States of the European Union (EU), said today that "the problem is not in the rapporteur" and that "there was no willingness of the Council to reach a compromise".
Although the Spanish members of the Civil Liberties Committee had advocated calling Gibraltar "colony," deputies of other nationalities had not always been so favorable.
The controversy over visas arose on February 1, when in a document in which they proposed that the British can travel without a visa to the Schengen area after the "Brexit", the countries of the EU pointed out in a footnote, including request of Spain, that the territory of Gibraltar is a "British colony".
In the case of the European Parliament, co-legislator with the member countries, the Civil Liberties Committee had approved on 29 January by 53 votes in favor and none against the negotiating position of the European Parliament, which did not call the Rock "colony".
Parliamentary sources told Efe in February that the vote was attended by MEPs Agustín Díaz de Mera (PP) and Juan Fernando López Aguilar (PSOE) and added that neither the two of them nor any other MEP proposed an amendment on Gibraltar.
Thus, the negotiator of the European Parliament until Monday for this initiative, Moraes, defended in meetings with the Member States that the footnote on Gibraltar was not included, which led to the talks being blocked for weeks.
Given the risk that the date of the "Brexit" came and the legislation had not been agreed, the group of the popular and the Social Democrats in the Eurocámara, from the pressure of the Spanish delegations, managed to remove Moraes and replace him by Stanishev.
Gibraltar is included in the list of "non-autonomous territories pending decolonization" of the United Nations, which recommends that this dispute be resolved "through bilateral negotiations between Spain and the United Kingdom."
This visa agreement will be voted on tomorrow in the EP plenary.