In a letter published in the November 7 in the British magazine The Economist, Fabian Picardo, Caretaker Chief Minister of Gibraltar wrote the following;
“Your special report on the debate about Britain leaving the European Union (October 17th) refreshingly demythologised many of the assertions made in favour of a “Brexit”.
I represent 22,000 Gibraltarians who will be able to participate in Britain’s referendum. David Cameron has been supportive of Gibraltar’s rights and as eager Europeans we back his bid to remain in a reformed, better, EU (Gibraltar had to win a case at the European Court of Human Rights to secure voting rights in the EU and we vote as part of the United Kingdom’s South West).
Access to the single market, especially for financial services, is critical to our economy just as it is for Britain. Hugely imperfect as it may be, the European Commission, which asks a lot of us in terms of regulation, has firmly challenged Madrid’s bid to squeeze our access to free movement of goods and services despite the fact that we provide jobs for 6,000 Spaniards. The EU is good for them and for our economy.
Leaving the EU would be like opting out of the digital age, a jump into the unknown that will cut off markets, access and influence. I would add Gibraltar to your geopolitical analysis. We remain an important military asset at a time when the Mediterranean is crucial in relation to north African and Russian issues. Every piece of the jigsaw counts. Let’s keep it together.”
If the people of Gibraltar quite understandably wish to have their opinion on the Brexit heard, then it is also plain that those British passport holders who have lived overseas for more than 15 years also want to have their say, especially those who actually live in the EU and are currently disenfranchised.