Gibraltar, the 6.5sq km British overseas territory that clings to a rocky finger of land extending into the Mediterranean from southern Spain, said today it is to hold a referendum on whether Britain should remain a member of the European Union.
Gibraltar is getting to participate in the referendum because it is the only UK overseas territory which is regarded as being a part of the EU, even though it’s not a full-fledged member state. The votes of its citizens will be added to those from the UK.
The announcement came as the jurisdiction’s local newspaper, the Gibraltar Chronicle, reported that key government officials there had “reaffirmed” their support of UK prime minister David Cameron, and his belief that the UK should stay in the EU.
The article quotes Gibraltar chief minister Fabian Picardo as saying there was “no reasonable alternative” for Gibraltar to the certainty of EU membership, “hand in hand with the UK”.
The Gibraltar referendum will take place on the same day as the UK’s, June 23, a statement issued by the government said.
The population of Gibraltar is around 29,260.
Although thousands of miles from the UK, Gibraltar is a determinedly British place, bristling with traditional red phone booths, Royal Mail mailboxes and other reminders of “Blighty”, in an otherwise largely sun-baked and arid, Barbary ape-flecked Mediterranean landscape.