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Spanish Reshuffle Jeopardises Gibraltar Talks

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

11 July 2002


It emerged this week that the Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Pique has been replaced in a major government reshuffle.

The Iberia news service reported that the reshuffle- which was one of the largest to take place since the Partido Popular government came to power - has placed the immediate future of the Gibraltar sovereignty talks in jeopardy.

The British and Spanish Foreign Ministers were due to meet formally on Friday, and were expected to announce that agreement had been reached in some areas. However, the new Spanish Foreign Minister, Ana De Palacio (the sister of the European Union's Transport Commissioner, Loyola De Palacio) will need to be briefed before entering the fray, putting the July 12 talks in doubt.

The announcement of Mr Pique's departure has been welcomed in some sections of the Gibraltarian media, but by no means all.

Although the appointment of a new Foreign Minister at a crucial point in the talks is unlikely to help them run smoothly, some commentators adhere to the principle of 'better the devil you know', and have warned that De Palacio represents a dangerous unknown quantity.


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