Tag Archives: gibraltar

24 November 2018 – today’s press releases

So much for the Conservative and Unionist Party, I guess…

  • PM’s immigration plans a disaster for economy and public services
  • PM puts Gibraltar in jeopardy

PM’s immigration plans a disaster for economy and public services

Responding to the announcement of the plans to issue low-skilled migrants with 11-month visas, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperon, Ed Davey said:

Theresa May’s plans would be disastrous for our economy and public services. Not only would these restricted visas put off skilled workers from working in the UK, but they simply won’t be able to fill gaps in sectors such as the NHS, social care and construction due to

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LibLink: Vince Cable: Tories must ditch red lines for the Rock

In this week’s New European, Vince Cable says that the British citizens on Gibraltar must not be sacrificed in the Brexit negotiations.

Clause 24 of the EU 27’s joint negotiating position, published in April last year, included a Spanish veto over the application of any deal between the EU and UK over Gibraltar. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, said it was “plainly obvious” that such a veto would be part of the EU’s negotiating guidelines. Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, described clause 24 as “discriminatory and unfair”.

A footnote to the draft legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement published last month confirmed that this veto would also apply to the transitional period. The Gibraltarian government has rightly pointed out that “by its very definition, transition is a continuation of the existing European Union legal border” and therefore this veto cannot apply.

Spain’s claim to Gibraltar is fatally undermined by the statistic that 98% of Gibraltarians want to remain British and there is no sign of that view changing. The Conservatives’ first act in response to the publication of the joint negotiating position should have been to insist on the removal of clause 24 – instead they gave us a general election that further weakened the Prime Minister’s bargaining power in Europe, because she ended up losing her Parliamentary majority.

Fortunately, Spain’s hard-line stance has slightly softened. Foreign minister Alfonso Dastis has been clear that he doesn’t want a border closure, which last occurred under General Franco in 1969. Such a move would be mutually damaging: disastrous for the 13,000 people who live in Spain and work in Gibraltar and leave the Rock with a staff shortage.

But the veto remains and Gibraltar’s politicians have sounded out legal opinions that would see them take the European Commission to court over clause 24.

Moreover, Spain continues to demand joint control of the Rock’s airport, which is, after all, British infrastructure on British soil. This might seem a reasonable suggestion for a post-Brexit relationship, but this should be seen in the context of even the seemingly reasonable Dastis pointing out that “sovereignty is something we aspire to, that we are not renouncing”.

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Brexit related divisiveness mars school exchange visit

Three Spanish Exchange students have descended on our home this week. Full of fun, responsive and impeccably mannered, it has been a pleasure to have them around. About parts of their experience in England, though, it is impossible to be so complimentary.

Their looks of bemusement have grown ever stronger during the week as the farcical events surrounding Gibraltar have unfolded.

Firstly, they watched in amazement as a former Tory leader – not a rogue backbencher, a former leader – envisaged a situation in which Britain would sent a Task Force, Union Jacks waving and bugles blowing, to defend the future of the island.

Walking round the supermarket, they stumbled across the front page of The Sun with its headline “Up Yours Senors”, although I suppose we should be mildly relieved that the paper fell short of calling for all-out war.

If they go back to the supermarket today, they can check out the Daily Mail with its tale of how a “Tiny Royal Navy patrol vessel chases giant Spanish gunboat out of British waters.”

Two newspapers which have done so much damage to the culture of the nation.

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War with Spain over Gibraltar?

 

Normally I try to switch off on holiday. I am in the Canary Islands with my family. When I switched on my Twitter feed I nearly choked on my cafe con leche after reading Lord Howard’s comments about Gibraltar.

Today was the 35th Anniversary of the start of the Falklands war and should have been a day to remember the dead and learn from the past. Yet instead Lord Howard used an interview on a Sunday politics program to remind people of what Thatcher did in 1982 and support a similar reaction in relation to Gibraltar.

This was wrong at so many levels. As my wife who is from Argentina said, how can someone of his experience make a comparison between the military junta of Argentina in 1982 and the democratically elected government of Mariano Rajoy.

Secondly, we want to set up trade deals with the EU and other Latin American countries. Does Lord Howard think that being the class room bully  will help us to enter this wonderful global world we are told by Brexiteers was created on June 24, 2016 ?

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Farron on “ludicrous” Brexiteer sabre rattling over Gibraltar

It’s quite incredible how we’ve gone from an Article 50 letter that makes scant reference to Gibraltar to a Tory Brexiteer suggesting that Theresa May would show the same attitude to the British territory as Margaret Thatcher did to the Falklands.  Seriously.

This isn’t just some random right-wing Tory cheerleader. It’s a former Leader of the Opposition, for goodness’ sake. Michael Howard told Sophy Ridge, according to the Guardian:

Thirty-five years ago this week, another woman prime minister sent a taskforce halfway across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country, and I’m absolutely certain that our current prime minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar.

Tim Farron had this to say:

It is unbelievable that within a week of triggering Article 50 there are Conservatives already discussing potential wars with our European neighbours.

In only a few days the Conservative-right are turning long term allies into potential enemies. I hope this isn’t a sign of the Government’s approach to the long negotiations to come

Brexiteers have gone from cheering to sabre rattling for war in four days, it is absolutely ludicrous.

Paddy Ashdown said on Twitter:

I am old enough to remember when the border between Gibraltar and Spain was closed and what that meant for people on either side of it. Both countries being in the EU had enabled a mutually agreeable solution, an open border and 10,000 citizens of Gibraltar  now working in Spain. The family and social ties forged during the last three decades of free travel are now as much as threat as the economic ones.

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How to leave the EU without invoking Article 50

 

It is generally assumed that the first step for the UK to leave the EU is to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. In his article on 10th August, Paul Walter described how “Invoking Article 50 could be a disaster for the UK”. The referendum represented a democratic decision of UK voters that needs to be respected, but invoking Article 50 might not be the only way to do this.

Article 52 of the Lisbon Treaty states “The territorial scope of the Treaties is specified in Article 355 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.” Article 355 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that the treaties “apply to the European territories for whose external relations a Member State is responsible”. However, it contains exceptions and special provisions for numerous territories of UK, Denmark, Finland, France and the Netherlands.

The European Communities Act of 1972 is “An Act to make provision in connection with the enlargement of the European Communities to include the United Kingdom, together with (for certain purposes) the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar”.  Therefore, Gibraltar is distinct from the United Kingdom, in relation to its membership of the EU.

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Sir Graham Watson: Gibraltar will always have the Lib Dems’ backing

GibraltarOn Sunday 1 September, I was treated to what many of my constituents face on a daily basis, a border queue. I got off rather lightly with 90 minutes. Many Gibraltarians who dare to cross the frontier face delays of over four hours. But they are a hardy lot. They survived eighteen years under Franco with the border closed.

In December 2011, the Liberal Party of Gibraltar, our sister party on the Rock, was elected to office in coalition with the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party. At about the same time, a general election in Spain saw a moderate Socialist government replaced by the nationalist Popular Party, the party of former dictator General Franco.

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Gibraltar: Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson calls on EU Commission President to intervene

GibraltarSelf-determination — the right of nations to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or interference — is a pretty fundamental principle of international law.

It’s the basis on which British sovereignty in the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar is founded. 11 years ago, the people of Gibraltar were asked in a referendum if sovereignty of the territory should be shared between the UK and Spain: 98% said no.

So it’s little surprise that the past weeks’ sabre-rattling by a Spanish government desperate to distract …

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