• Spain's news in English
Spain 'waiting to pounce' if Gibraltar leaves the EU
Photo: AFP

Spain 'waiting to pounce' if Gibraltar leaves the EU

The Local · 4 Mar 2016, 16:03

Published: 04 Mar 2016 16:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Mar 2016 16:03 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The possibility of Britain leaving the European Union is raising serious questions about what might happen to Gibraltar, the tiny British Overseas Territory that borders Spain.

In an interview with Radio Nacional de España on Friday, Spain’s acting Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said that if Britain were to leave the EU "we would be talking about Gibraltar the very next day".

Gibraltar reacted angrily to the remark. 

"The declared intent of the Caretaker Foreign Minister of Spain to bring the question of Gibraltar to the fore in the event of the UK and Gibraltar leaving the EU confirms the analysis that has already been made,” the Government of Gibraltar said in a statement to The Local.

"It is safer and more secure for Gibraltar to remain in the EU in order to deny Mr Margallo the opportunity to pounce on us," the statement continued.

"This is exactly the type of attitude that we have come to expect from Sr. Margallo and it no doubt pervades so many others of his mindset," Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabien Picardo told The Local in a statement.

"It usefully sets out the danger that those who choose Brexit potentially create for Gibraltar if there is also a Partido Popular government in Spain in the future."

Speaking in the run-up to Gibraltar’s elections in November, which he won, Picardo said his centrist alliance was firmly of the view that Britain should remain in the EU and that access to the single market and freedom of movement were vital for Gibraltar.

"We have fought to ensure that Gibraltar is able to vote in the Brexit referendum so that we can influence that decision," Picardo said.   

"Our primary challenge as a people after the election is, therefore, to work to keep the UK in the EU."

Picardo has had several clashes with Spain, which has a centuries-old claim over Gibraltar's sovereignty and until recently imposed sanctions and restrictions.

Picardo and Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party (PP) have argued over the smuggling of cheap cigarettes from Gibraltar into Spain and the territory's low-tax regime.

Story continues below…

There has also been tension over fishing rights and law enforcement in the waters around the Rock, which are claimed by both Britain and Spain.

Picardo has at times taken an assertive stance toward Spain, but insists this was proportional to the PP's approach to Gibraltar.

"Dealing with Garcia-Margallo has required us to be tough on occasions," he said.

"I make no apology for that."   

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available