Friday

16th Nov 2018

Post-Brexit Gibraltar will 'never' be part Spanish

  • In total 19,322 people voted to remain, and just 823 opted for a Brexit. (Photo: Tony Evans)

Gibraltar's leader promised on Friday (24 June) the British overseas territory will “never” be Spanish, not even partly.

The future of the 6.7 square kilometres south of Spain became a topic of discussion after a majority of British citizens voted to Leave.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Even more so than in Scotland and Northern Ireland, people in Gibraltar may feel that the English and Welsh are dragging them out of the EU.

On Thursday, Gibraltarians were almost unanimous – 96 percent wanted to stay in.

In total 19,322 people voted to remain, and just 823 opted for a British exit, or Brexit.

Just hours after the result came out, the Spanish government tried to court the Gibraltarians.

“It’s a complete change of outlook that opens up new possibilities on Gibraltar not seen for a very long time,” said Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Spain's acting foreign minister.

He suggested that Brexit is an opportunity to rethink the status of Gibraltar.

“I hope the formula of co-sovereignty – to be clear, the Spanish flag on the Rock – is much closer than before,” said Garcia-Margallo.

But that is not happening, said Fabian Picardo, chief minister of Gibraltar since 2011.

Responding to the Spanish “noises”, he said nothing would happen against the wishes of the Gibraltarian people.

“So let others make irrelevant noises about flying flags over a rock if they want to waste their breath. Such ideas will never prosper,” said Picardo.

“Gibraltar will never pay a sovereignty price for access to a market. Gibraltar will never be Spanish in whole, in part or at all,” he added.

Gibraltarians have held two previous referendums on the rock's status. In 1967, only 44 people supported the idea of becoming Spanish – 99.64 percent voted to remain British.

A proposal for shared sovereignty between Britain and Spain, in 2002, was only slightly more successful: Just 187 people, or 1 percent of voters, said Yes.

Expats in Spain

Meanwhile, Spain's acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy sought to reassure the much larger population of Britons residing in Spain proper.

Around 300,000 of them, mostly senior expats, are registered in Spain.

“Their rights to move freely, to work, to pay social security contributions, to receive pensions, to invest, to vote or be elected in local elections will not be affected at all,” said Rajoy. “The same applies to the rights of British citizens who live or work in our country or in the rest of the EU.”

The Gibraltar jibe occurred in the context of an upcoming general election in Spain, this Sunday (26 June).

Opinion polls say Rajoy's centre-right Popular Party could remain the largest party, but would again need coalition partners. Spain's anti-austerity party Podemos is expected to do well.

EU urges UK to submit Brexit papers

Cameron does not want to apply for Brexit, but let his successor do it. That could take until October. “Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty," EU leaders have said.

UK votes to leave EU, causes shockwaves

Britons vote to leave the EU by 51.9 percent. Pound is at its lowest since 1985. Scotland and Northern Ireland at odds with England and Wales.

Spain's Podemos sees a clear path to power

The anti-austerity party could finish second in the 26 June general election. Its leader Pablo Iglesias is beginning to believe he could be prime minister in a left-wing coalition.

No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt

British PM Theresa May battles for survival as she faces calls for her resignation and the rebellion of several ministers who resigned over the draft Brexit deal - which the EU is preparing to sign later this month.

Analysis

Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)

The main points of the Brexit withdrawal deal between London and Brussels dissected. Although the EU is preparing to sign the agreement, the UK government has been rocked by resignations since its publication less than 24 hours ago.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  2. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  3. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  4. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  5. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  6. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  7. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May
  8. Denmark blocks Tanzania aid over homophobic crackdown

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  2. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  3. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  4. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  5. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  6. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  7. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot
  8. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us