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Gibraltar Sovereignty Debate Spills Over Into Spanish Domestic Politics

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

24 May 2002


The debate on the sovereignty of Gibraltar has begun to spill over into Spanish domestic politics, sparking not entirely unexpected requests from Catalunya and the Basque region for a revision of their status and a greater degree of self-government.

Following a high profile meeting between the Spanish and British Prime Ministers, Jose Maria Aznar and Tony Blair earlier this week, the Catalan leader, Jordi Pujol has asked the Spanish government to consider the possibility of joint sovereignty for Catalunya, according to the Panorama news service.

Speaking at an event in Catalunya also attended by Foreign Minister, Josep Pique, Mr Pujol renewed his demands for greater autonomy for the region, arguing that any concessions which Madrid is willing to make towards Gibraltar should also be extended to the other regional territories which have been demanding change for many years.

According to reports, the Catalans want to revert to the shared sovereignty with Spain which was enjoyed in 1714, and Basque activists would like a referendum similar to that being offered to Gibraltar, in order to opt for independence from Spain.

However, it is the Spanish government's vehement opposition to sharing sovereignty with any other power that has stalled the Anglo-Spanish talks on Gibraltar, making the possibility of concessions towards any of its other disputed territories very unlikely.


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