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EU warns Spain against imposing Gibraltar tax

GIBRALTAR — The European Commission said Monday it hopes Britain and Spain will be able to resolve their latest dispute over Gibraltar by themselves but warned that Spanish threats to impose a border tax would be illegal.

European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said the entry tax suggested by Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo was not official but that ‘‘any tax or fees imposed at the border of a member state will be illegal under EU law. Illegal. Not in line with EU law.’’

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Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso discussed the spat with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy by telephone Monday and agreed that a commission fact-finding mission should go to the Gibraltar border area as soon as possible and examine the issues of border control and movement of people and goods, the commission said.

Barroso expressed hope that Spain and Britain would address the issues in line with their EU membership.

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