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Gibraltar Government Urged To Reject Brussels Process

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

19 July 2002


The GSLP/Liberal Opposition has criticised the Gibraltar government for refusing to reject the Brussels process completely following UK Foreign Minister, Jack Straw's speech in the House of Commons last Friday.

In an earlier statement, the Rock's government had restated its willingness to participate in talks with the UK and Spain if, and only if, it is given a guarantee that no bilateral agreements will be made over its head.

However, the Opposition is arguing that the situation has completely changed in the wake of Mr Straw's announcement that: 'the only way of securing for Gibraltar a stable and prosperous future is through a comprehensive and permanent settlement. And that means an agreement with Spain on all issues - including sovereignty.'

In a statement, the Opposition observed that: 'It will be recalled (that) at the time the Brussels agreement was signed in 1984, there were those who claimed that there existed two interpretations of it, one held by London and one by Madrid. The Spanish government claimed from the start that this was a process by which Spain would lift her restrictions against Gibraltar in exchange for sovereignty concessions. The British view allegedly was that the process was not about sovereignty, but about friendly, neighbourly cooperation.'

The statement continued: 'The Opposition maintain that it is no longer possible for anyone to claim that the British interpretation is any different to the Spanish one. The Foreign Secretary has made it abundantly clear that the settlement of the sovereignty dispute with Spain was and remains the main consideration, and that progress in so-called neighbourly relations can only come about by making sovereignty concessions in exchange.'

Adding that in effect: 'those willing to participate in the Brussels process, in any shape or form, must now be willing to barter our sovereignty in exchange for the removal of the Spanish restrictions,' the Opposition slammed the GSD government for claiming that it is still willing to participate in the negotiations process, arguing that its conditions are now 'completely irrelevant'.


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