GIBRALTAR’S Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told a meeting in Madrid this Tuesday morning that dialogue is needed with Spain and said it was “incredible that such a lack of cooperation exists between neighbours.”
Mr Picardo had arranged the breakfast speech in Madrid after he was told he would not be allowed speak at the New Economic Forum despite a previous invitation. The Gibraltar government organised its own event in response, where Mr Picardo said that the long queues at the border between Spain and Gibraltar are “politically motivated.”
“What does Spain win by closing all relations with a small territory like Gibraltar which is on its own border?” said Mr Picardo. “We do not wish to become the cornerstone of Spanish foreign policy. It is incredible that two territories that border each other do not cooperate. Dialogue is a political instrument, not an end in itself.”
The Gibraltar chief minister also asked: “If Obama and Cuba can reach an agreement, why can’t we?”
He stressed that he hoped tripartite talks between the UK, Spain and Gibraltar would resume in the future after they were abandoned when Spain’s Partido Popular government came to power.
Not everybody was happy about Mr Picardo addressing an event in Madrid, however. A small group of Spanish nationalists waving flags greeted the minister as he arrived, and it’s reported that Spain’s Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, said that “it was fine” for Mr Picardo to speak in Madrid, “as long as no one forces me to listen.”