Spain circles Gibraltar as Brexit vote looms

Gibraltar’s chief minister has warned that Britons who vote to leave the European Union are putting the territory at risk, following provocative comments by the Spanish foreign minister.

In an interview on Radio Nacional de España on Friday, Spanish foreign minister Jose Maria Margallo said if the UK votes yes to Brexit in the June referendum, Spain will be talking about Gibraltar “the next day”.

The Government of Gibraltar responded within hours, releasing a statement in which it said the comments would “take nobody by surprise and are perfectly consistent with the manner and form which has characterised Mr Margallo’s tenure at the Palacio de Santa Cruz”.

It went on: “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. 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.”

Gibraltar’s chief minister Fabian Picardo said: “This is exactly the type of attitude that we have come to expect from Senor Margallo and it no doubt pervades so many others of his mindset. 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. This is as vivid an illustration as possible of that.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Fernyhough
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