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"Future of Gibraltar at stake in Brexit negotiations " Topic


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Tango0131 Mar 2017 10:10 p.m. PST

"The EU has put the future of Gibraltar at stake in the coming Brexit negotiations, in effect backing Spain in its centuries-old dispute with the UK over the British overseas territory.


After lobbying from Spanish diplomats, the EU's opening negotiating position for the Brexit talks presents the British government with the choice of reaching agreement with the Spaniards about Gibraltar's future or exposing its citizens to economic peril by pushing "the rock" outside any EU-UK trade deal.

"The union will stick up for its members and that means Spain now," a senior EU official said. Residents of Gibraltar, which Spain has sought to reclaim almost since it was ceded to Britain in 1713 voted 96% to remain in EU…"
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Amicalement
Armand

BattlerBritain31 Mar 2017 10:48 p.m. PST

The future of Gibraltar is not at stake.

In fact it's not even open for discussion.

It is British Sovereign territory the same as The Falklands and any attempts to change that status will be met in the same 'robust' fashion as attempts were made to change The Falklands status.

End of discussion.

Gaz004531 Mar 2017 11:53 p.m. PST

Melilla or Ceuta don't pop up nearly as much as ol' Gib…..

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 2:42 a.m. PST

Well said BattlerBritain

14Bore01 Apr 2017 3:37 a.m. PST

I doubt this straight out of hand

GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 4:22 a.m. PST

Free the Catalans! No deal with Europoe without Catalan independence vote, and hand Melilla and Ceuta to Morocco, where they belong!

THEN perhaps we'll discuss Gibralter.

Re Catalans, there was a referendum re Scottish independence in 2014 – they voted to stay British.

Get rid of European hypocracy!

Northern Monkey01 Apr 2017 5:22 a.m. PST

Melillaand Cueta are Spanish. However, Gibraltar is British. The two are very similar but Britain accepts Spain's position on its territory in North Africa, so why on earth would Spain not accept the status quo in Gib? Clear hypocrisy.

Striker01 Apr 2017 6:02 a.m. PST

Has anyone seen "The Raft"? A good Gibraltar scene.

robertg01 Apr 2017 6:14 a.m. PST

"……so why on earth would Spain not accept the status quo in Gib?……."

Because Rajoy and his associated bunch of crooks need to stir up a nationalistic sentiment to counter the increasingly desperate economic circumstances into which his policies have dragged Spain.
I imagine he is expecting to create enough fuss that he looks strong and can get a hefty settlement from UK, and if that includes a few discrete brown envelope "party contributions" so much the better.

basileus6601 Apr 2017 7:15 a.m. PST

Well… beyond the nationalistic rant of our dear UK residents, what the actual provisional draft says is:

"The surprise clause gives Spain the ability to exclude Gibraltar from any UK-EU transitional single market access arrangement or future trade deal if it is not satisfied with the status of the territory"

In other words, any trade arrangement that included Gibraltar will be part of a bi-lateral negotiation between Spain and the UK, instead of being part of the general trade agreement between UK and EU, as long as the political status of the colony remains as it is today. Exactly like happens nowadays with Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands.

So, relax, children, that none is trying to steal your toys…

Tango0101 Apr 2017 10:30 a.m. PST

But… what if the people there vote to remain in the EU?… as the Scotish or Irish?…


Amicalement
Armand

basileus6601 Apr 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

Won't happen. As far as I know Gibraltar has not the status of Scotland or Northern Ireland inside the UK. I think to remember they are a dominion of the Crown, as stated in Gibraltar Constitution Order of 14th December, 2006.

willlucv01 Apr 2017 11:07 a.m. PST

They did hold a referendum a few years ago on whether the residents of Gibraltar wanted to remain British and the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of remaining.

emckinney01 Apr 2017 11:21 a.m. PST

If you can't spell "Gibraltar," you don't care enough to keep it.

Tango0101 Apr 2017 11:34 a.m. PST

I'm sure Antonio that if the inhabitants of that place decided to remain in the EU… the English Goverment would endorse their will… as the other referendum willucve mention…


Amicalement
Armand

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 12:02 p.m. PST

Amazing the lack of self conciousness of some here "defending" this last shred of the empire. This rock with no strategic value whatsoever in defending the UK that no longer guards any colonies in the Mediterranean. Embarrassing really.

basileus6601 Apr 2017 12:23 p.m. PST

I'm sure Antonio that if the inhabitants of that place decided to remain in the EU…

Lets say, for the sake of argument, that Gibraltarians decide that they want to remain in the EU.

Now, first of all they should separate from the UK. So we need to imagine that the UK will grant Gibraltar its independence. With Gibraltar being an independent country, she would start the negotiation with the EU to join back the Union. Spain, probably, would veto any negotiations of that kind.

Therefore, regardless what the UK and Gibraltar might decide through a bi-laterall agreement, once the UK is out the EU Gibraltar will have a tough time joining back, if ever.

Probably, Spanish government will trade concessions from Gibraltar and the UK -tougher stand against smugglers, recognition of fishing rights, ecc- in exchange of including Gibraltar in a general trade agreement between the EU and UK. Spain has a lot to win and not much to lose. Now she is in a stronger diplomatic position.

Gaz004501 Apr 2017 12:25 p.m. PST

The principle being defended is the right of self determination…….99% of the inhabitants voted to remain under the British Crown in the last vote……..it's strategic value has long since faded although it's a handy way point on a cruise to the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus.
US Navy likes to pop in too……..

willlucv01 Apr 2017 1:24 p.m. PST

Too right Gaz, much like the Falklands really, the population want to remain British and Britain is prepared to support that, by force if necessary.

If the government of Spain actually got their act together and devised a workeable economic strategy to haul themselves out of economic purgatory instead of whining on about Gibraltar then the residents may have been more receptive to Spanish rule. See also Argentina.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 1:47 p.m. PST

I personally believe that the principle of self-determination should trump all else. And the people of Gibraltar, like the people living in the Falklands, have made it perfectly clear that they wish to continue to remain British citizens. That should be the end of the matter -- anything other than that is tyranny imposed by outsiders.

Maybe it's true that, like the corrupt Argentine junta in 1982, the Spanish government is trying to distract the people from their internal problems with a manufactured patriotic "cause." The hypocrisy of the Spanish position on Gibraltar has been well noted above.

In a related vein, I personally back Scottish independence, but if the referendum(s) deliver "No" votes by the majority of Scottish voters, then I'm content to accept that the will of the people carries the day, despite personal preferences.

Bob the Temple Builder01 Apr 2017 1:59 p.m. PST

The text of the guidelines states:

22. After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.

I'm no lawyer, but to me this implies that Spain and the UK must agree IF an agreement between the UK and the EU is to apply to Gibraltar. So – for example – if there is an agreement that there will be continued free movement between the UK and EU, the Spanish must agree to that specifically if it is to apply to Gibraltar. In this case, it would mean that the large number of Spaniards who cross the border each day to work in Gibraltar could continue to do so. As this is important to the local Spanish economy, it would be unpopular in that part of Spain, even if it was popular in Madrid.

The last time the border was closed for a long time, the Gibraltarians recruited replacement workers from Morocco … which is one reason why there is a mosque at Europa Point.

basileus6601 Apr 2017 2:02 p.m. PST

the Spanish government is trying to distract the people from their internal problems with a manufactured patriotic "cause."

Really, you should stop believing your own propaganda. Do you know which is the top story in Spanish newspapers and media outlets?: the landslide in Colombia, that has killed 154 people, and the political mess in Venezuela. Oh! And the Football League! (soccer for you Americans). By the way, for the Spanish government right now the most important thing is to pass the budget.

Sorry to dissapoint you, guys: neither Gibraltar nor the UK are important enough to distract our attention. If only you know how little importance we give to you, you would sleep a lot easier. If you are looking for a fight go and ask the Russians; perhaps they are willing to accomodate you. We don't, thank you very much.

willlucv01 Apr 2017 2:27 p.m. PST

Speaking of self determinism what is the prevailing view of Catalan independence in Spain Basileus?

Piper I think Scotland will get another go at a referendum on independence, but not until Britain has actually sorted out more nationally important issues, it would be a distraction at present. I am proud to belong to a country that allows its citizens to vote on various key matters even if the results don't always turn out to our liking. Nothing imperialist about us these days.

Bob the Temple Builder01 Apr 2017 2:37 p.m. PST

Basileus66,

The landslide is the top story on the BBC News website as well.

Carrying for the survivors of such a disaster strikes me as being more important than worrying about what might happen in the forthcoming negotiations.

basileus6601 Apr 2017 2:48 p.m. PST

Self-determination. But, what is the relevance of Cataluña and self-determination in a discussion about the trade agreements between the EU-UK and Spain-UK? It is not like anyone (well, some old farts maybe) wants anything to do with Gibraltar. If only we could get rid of Ceuta and Melilla too…

basileus6601 Apr 2017 2:51 p.m. PST

Carrying for the survivors of such a disaster strikes me as being more important than worrying about what might happen in the forthcoming negotiations.

Agreed wholeheartedly.

And you know what is the saddest part about our bickering? That it doesn't matter. Negotiations will be taken and done without anyone of us having a say.

basileus6601 Apr 2017 3:03 p.m. PST

I'm no lawyer, but to me this implies that Spain and the UK must agree IF an agreement between the UK and the EU is to apply to Gibraltar. So – for example – if there is an agreement that there will be continued free movement between the UK and EU, the Spanish must agree to that specifically if it is to apply to Gibraltar. In this case, it would mean that the large number of Spaniards who cross the border each day to work in Gibraltar could continue to do so. As this is important to the local Spanish economy, it would be unpopular in that part of Spain, even if it was popular in Madrid.

That's my take on the text, too. Gibraltar's economy and Cadiz's region economy are co-dependant. Both parties have much to lose and little to win from closing the frontier. That's why most Gibraltarians voted against the Brexit. They like bussiness to continue as usual (do you know how many Spanish owned bussinesses have settled in Gibraltar to escape taxes?)

In any negotiation both parties need to cede something to get something. Your guess is as good as mine, though. I don't think that right now anybody has the slightest idea about what to ask or what concessions can or will be made by both parties. For Spain, EU support has been a win… and a clear message from Brussels to London: we are not going to roll over our stomach and play dead, be prepared for the toughest negotiation of your lives.

Of course, in the end, when everything is signed, politicians from both sides will present the agreements as a personal victory. On that, I bet you whatever you want.

GeoffQRF01 Apr 2017 3:06 p.m. PST

Gibraltar voted heavily to remain underrated British rule (probably because they understand that independently they would be under greater threat of being reclaimed by Spain)

Gibraltar voted heavily for the UK to remain part of the EU (because they know which side their bread is buttered and realise they need SpNish cooperation to effectively operate)

Departure from the EU leave Gib between a hard place and a rock.

Bob the Temple Builder01 Apr 2017 3:12 p.m. PST

Basileus66,

My personal view was that the UK should have remained BUT then worked to help reform the EU so that it worked better for all the members.

In my opinion, historically UK governments have never invested enough effort in taking a real part in the governance of the EU, and we now have to live with the result.

As the Irishman is reputed to have said, 'if I was going there, I wouldn't have started from here'.

Supercilius Maximus01 Apr 2017 3:40 p.m. PST

My personal view was that the UK should have remained BUT then worked to help reform the EU so that it worked better for all the members.

1) We were 1 vote out of 27 in a set-up that usually needs a mere one vote against to block a reform.

2) We've been a member since 1973. How's that "changing from within" thing been working out, then?

[And no, I didn't vote "Leave".]

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2017 9:24 p.m. PST

The sloughing off of the vestiges of empire is always a touchy and painful process and often a messy one too. The last true Neanderthals perished in the caves of this accursed rock as the most recent Ice Age snuffed out their pitiful existence as a separate species. The mythical Atlanteans held it before they sank below the seas in a flood of mud and salt water. The proud and far-flung Phoenicians/Cathaginians clung to it until Rome broke the back of their ancient sea empire. Roderic, King of the Visigoths, died in the early 8th Century trying to prevent the Umayyads and Berbers from taking this rock. Tariq ibn Ziyad (after whom the rock is named) and Musa bin Nusayr were ruined and sent back to Damascas by the Umayyad caliph over the conquest and administration of this rock and al-Andalus. Seven centuries later the Spanish Reconquesta painted it in Arab and Jewish blood and then collapsed bankrupt and exhausted after this long bout of fanatical ethnic cleansing. The Anglo-Dutch conquered and ethnicly cleansed it once more in 1704. Nelson died for it at Trafalgar in 1805. And now Britain faces stark economic realities with an estranged Europe due to its possession of this lonely rock.

Perhaps it's better to leave this Pillar of Hercules to the scat-throwing monkeys and let it go, rather then to cling to an imperial past that no longer is? The other option may cause further decline and hardship to millions of Britons and their fragile economy. What price the Rock?

Rod Robertson.

willlucv01 Apr 2017 11:24 p.m. PST

Very poetic. However the population of Gibraltar is only 30000, they are self governing and they aren't actually British they're a mix of Gibraltans and other nationalities. Britain only acts in respect of the protectorate if it is under threat.

It has had two referendums about return to Spanish rule, although one took place whilst Franco was still in charge so was a bit of a pointless exercise.

basileus6602 Apr 2017 2:27 a.m. PST

Will

Even at the risk of repeating myself: Gibraltar is not under threat. The only "threat", if you want to consider it such, is that she won't be included in overall agreements between EU and UK. Negotiations will be held separately between Spain and UK, to determine the conditions of trade and movement of goods, persons and capitals between Gibraltar and the mainland.

I know it is a dissapointment for some people: to be forced to solve issues through boring diplomacy and bureaucratic trade-horsing, instead with gunboats, but that's the way it is in boring, modern Europe. And I am glad, for one, that is the case.

So, kudos to your rightgeous stand to defend Gibraltar' self-determination, but mind that is not the issue being under discussion. What is being debated are trade and freedom of movement. ;)

PS: if it serves you as any consolation neither Ceuta, Melilla nor Canary Islands are covered by trade agreements made by the EU, but by bi-lateral agreements between Spain and other parties. Gibraltar, on the other hand, has been considered integral part of the UK and therefore included in any agreement signed by the EU. According post-Brexit diplomacy that won't be the case from now on.

Bangorstu02 Apr 2017 4:48 a.m. PST

The worst that can happen is Gibraltar gets blockaded… but then it's de facto blockaded anyhow for much of the time due to the actions of the Spanish authorities from what I hear.

But it wasn't a smart move on the part of the eU as all it does is harden the British public's opinion without actually gaining anything.

I do wonder about the Spanish claim though. Gibraltar has been British for longer than it ever was Spanish. Given Madrid doesn't seem to want Belgium back, why is this bit of the Treaty of Utrecht such a problem?

I mean, aside from proximity, what is the basis of the claim? The Spanish only lost Portugal 40 years before… so why not claim the entire Peninsula?

Then of course there's the hypocrisy over Ceuta and Melila…

willlucv02 Apr 2017 5:32 a.m. PST

Apologies Basileus I am not directing any ire at you nor I am suggesting that the situation is defused by anything other than diplomatic means.

I do get tired of people trolling out the same old Britain clinging to her Empire argument whenever say Gibraltar or the Falklands are discussed.

basileus6602 Apr 2017 6:26 a.m. PST

But it wasn't a smart move on the part of the eU as all it does is harden the British public's opinion without actually gaining anything

Quite the opposite. It is a smart movement. It gives the right amount of toughness but without overplaying their hand. Nowhere in the draft is recognized anything but that any agreement that includes Gibraltar will be negotiated directly between Spain and the UK. It doesn't say anything about sovereignty, nor disputes the claims of either party. From Brussels point of view the draft sent the right message to Mrs May: every bullet of the final treaty will be fight without mercy.

Anyway, I rather prefer not engage with you in a debate regarding this topic. To be honest, it is just personal, Bangorstu: I don't like your TMP persona (don't know if face to face you are equally diseeagreable, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt)

basileus6602 Apr 2017 6:38 a.m. PST

Apologies Basileus I am not directing any ire at you nor I am suggesting that the situation is defused by anything other than diplomatic means.

Don't worry. It is just Internet bickering. You love your country and feel anger when you think it is attacked. I get it. It happens to the best of us.

I do get tired of people trolling out the same old Britain clinging to her Empire argument whenever say Gibraltar or the Falklands are discussed.

I've tried to avoid it. I don't find it particularly useful in this specific topic.

What I would really want you to understand is that Gibraltar is not an issue for the majority of the Spaniards. Besides some fringe ultra-rightist groups, you can't imagine how few people even remembers about Gibraltar. I participate in several forums in the Internet, most of them in Spain. The only one where I engage in any discussion about Gibraltar is here, in an American one. You will find threads about unemployment, Cataluña, terrorism, education, gay-rights, ecc, but not a single thread with Gibraltar as main topic. In fact, according to the polls made by the CIS (Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas, Social Research Center, an official research center) the main worries of the Spaniards are unemployment, the corruption of the political parties and the economy, followed by the usual suspects: pensions, healthcare, education, ecc… Gibraltar doesn't appear anywhere.

gunnerphil02 Apr 2017 8:21 a.m. PST

In 10 years living in Spain never had any of my neighbours mention Gibraltar. So if it is a cunning plan to distract the people it is failing.

I suspect it is something politicians worry about more than people. No one wants to be the Prime Minister who gives up Gibraltar.

willlucv02 Apr 2017 10:07 a.m. PST

Point taken basileus, normal people tend not to care about silly things like historical disputes, they usually have more pressing issues at hand.

I like my country, but I'm not blind to its flaws or failings. Incidentally I voted to stay in Europe, but now we're leaving I'm not going to moan about it.

Supercilius Maximus02 Apr 2017 11:11 a.m. PST

Given how much Gibraltar's economy depends on smuggling and money-laundering, I think whoever owns it will probably never receive a big enough "cut" to pay for protecting it.

Bangorstu02 Apr 2017 12:17 p.m. PST

Basileus… no need to debate but I will agree this has been blown out of all proportion, and Michael Howard talking about war hasn't helped any.

I was merely observing that this kind of thing plays badly in our tabloid newspapers…which are read by the kind of people who flock to your beaches.

Annoying then isn't a bright move I'd have thought.

Fortunately I think your government has sufficient sense to know that :)

And in person I'm wonderful. I just have a certain writing style, that's all.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2017 12:38 p.m. PST

I personally have no dog in this fight, I live far away from both Gibraltar AND the UK. But I feel sorry for Gibraltarians caught in the middle of a problem they did not cause, and being held hostage to fortune (and Eurocrats, and posturing politicians of all stripes). They did not ask to be born there, but now they're caught in the middle of a messy tug of war. They have to worry about possibly being sold down the river by a disinterested Britain, subjected to blockades from Spain… and becoming an independent city-state doesn't seem to be a viable option either.

But really, what is the Spanish claim to Gibraltar based on other than mere geographical proximity? A sense of "neatness"? It's patently not based on concern for the residents, who have over and over again made it clear they do not wish to be a part of the Spanish state. Geography, or a sense of being wronged centuries ago? (Older than the USA!) Let it go!

Where and when would such old squabbles ever end?

Quebecnordiques02 Apr 2017 12:55 p.m. PST

I'm reading this and I can't believe there are people willing to rattle sabres over this dispute which has only been brought to the fore by a Tory government and elements of an akin jingoistic press.

Rear-Adml Chris Parry's words in today's edition of The Daily Telegraph, the same press with a headline which states "Theresa May 'would go to war' to defend sovereignty of Gibraltar as Margaret Thatcher did with the Falklands, says former Tory leader" is, in this day and age…deplorabñe, even pathetic.

Basileus…I have admired your patience, tact and diplomacy. Well done. To all others who have taken up jingoistic sabres…have a nice evening.

Tango0102 Apr 2017 3:52 p.m. PST

Nobody doubt that the people from Gibraltar consider themselves as British or want to be part of them… the question here is WHAT IF they want NOW to remain in the EU by a vote…!!

I have to understand that the UK would accepted that…

Amicalement
Armand

Quebecnordiques02 Apr 2017 4:20 p.m. PST

Forget it, Tango.

When a member of NATO is seen as an enemy and threatened because of the rants of the nationalist UK press that prefers to look over the fact that the British Government has overlooked Gibraltar-you know…that place which will be defended by the Royal Navy, the RAF, Nuclear missiles-just watch out those living in Milton Keynes if the last tests are anything to go by-. ;-)

Well that piece of land, which means nothing, was omitted by the British Government in its farewell letter to the EU stressing conditions etc. But of course, instead of acknowledging incompetence, it's much easier to blame the dirty, old enemy, Catholic Spanish. What a complete and uter shame.

Many years ago I played a game of football on the Plains of Abraham… a guy on the other team openly said, all serious, like, that all "English were sons of the devil"…I chuckled at that back then, but maybe he was referring to English Daily Mail readers! ;-)

Tango0102 Apr 2017 9:02 p.m. PST

(smile)


Amicalement
Armand

basileus6602 Apr 2017 10:30 p.m. PST

I think that you hit the proverbial head of the nail, Quebecnordiques.

When I was young, 16 years old or so, I dreamt of Gibraltar being Spanish once again. Then I grew up, and realized that, -paraphrasing Bismarck- the Rock wasn't worth even the blood of one Spanish fusilier.

That is why saber-rattling from those who should know better angers me so much. They are doing it for their own fanbase, not with the good of their constituents and those who live in Gibraltar in mind. What is the purpose of threatening with war? It could make sense if Spain would have deployed troops nearby the Rock, but she hasn't. The only logical explanation is that those declarations are not directed as much against Spain as to cheer up a few hooligans and hidden the fact that they had forgot about Gibraltar, and that mistake gave a diplomatic opening to Spain to separate the negotiations regarding the Rock from a future agreement between EU and UK.

PS: I understand that politicians use fear, though. It is a powerful weapon and helps to bind together the country. However, when I am tempted to put the all the Britons in the same box, I remember that 49% of the British population voted "remain", and that everytime I have visited UK I have felt welcomed. Of course, there are brutish morons in Britain, but where aren't? I have been fortunate of never meeting one of them. In a couple of weeks I will travel again to England, to Salute 2017, with my eldest son. I can't imagine that I won't be welcomed again.

Bangorstu03 Apr 2017 2:28 a.m. PST

To be fair, all nations have their moments of vainglory… remember the fracas over Perejil?

And this has been caused by an unexpected EU move, not something the papers dreamed up themselves… though doubtless they will do so over the next two years.

It'll be forgotten next week, it's just a has-been politician getting in the news.

Tango – I think 96% of Gibraltarians wanted to be in the EU, but 99% of them want to be British. A quick look at El Pais yesterday showed no sign of Brexit changing their minds about becoming Spanish… indeed they seem quite optimistic about the future.

Bangorstu03 Apr 2017 2:28 a.m. PST

To be fair, all nations have their moments of vainglory… remember the fracas over Perejil?

And this has been caused by an unexpected EU move, not something the papers dreamed up themselves… though doubtless they will do so over the next two years.

It'll be forgotten next week, it's just a has-been politician getting in the news.

Tango – I think 96% of Gibraltarians wanted to be in the EU, but 99% of them want to be British. A quick look at El Pais yesterday showed no sign of Brexit changing their minds about becoming Spanish… indeed they seem quite optimistic about the future.

Khusrau03 Apr 2017 2:32 a.m. PST

The basic dichotomy is that Gibraltar rejected co-sovereignty some years back, but then voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU (albeit they are outside the customs union, which is why smuggling, money laundering and tax evasion are their main industries).

They also have an anomalous legal status as recognised by the UN. Former British ambassador Craig Murray sums it up well here:
link

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