Spain has ramped up its military activity in the area of Gibraltar in pursuit of their traditional ambition to control the Strait. The continued presence of the United Kingdom in the area, through its facilities at Gibraltar, has long been regarded by many in Madrid as an obstacle to this ambition.
Meanwhile, the Spanish press has been full of speculation that discussions on military matters will form part of a separate package in the event that a UK-EU treaty about Gibraltar is concluded. A few days ago a major exercise which involved two hundred Spanish troops and military equipment came to an end in the Campo de Gibraltar. The objective of the exercise was to test the readiness and the ability of the Spanish armed forces to control and defend the coastline here, including control of maritime traffic in the zone with a particular emphasis on any vessel carrying out suspicious activity. It should be noted that the focus was security and defence as opposed to law enforcement.