IN a public display of solidarity with Gibraltar, Foreign Secretary the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP visited the Rock on Wednesday May 11. He and the Chief Minister issued a joint statement covering a wide range of topics which included Gibraltar’s position within Europe, the Referendum and the matter of sovereignty.
The entire statement follows:
• Today we reaffirmed the strong and enduring relationship between the UK and Gibraltar –and recognised Gibraltar’s contribution to the diverse British family. We jointly paid tribute to the enduring Gibraltarian ambition and spirit, which has built a modern, multicultural and environmentally conscious society on the Mediterranean, proud to be both Gibraltarian and British.
• We celebrated the 90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen and noted the steadfast loyalty of the people of Gibraltar to their sovereign.
• This ambition and spirit has turned Gibraltar into a success-story across a number of areas.
Gibraltar is increasingly a cultural centre; its high-tech economy is booming and its finance centre providing a world-class, well-regulated gateway to the European Union. Its new university will help spread the seed of learning across the entire region.
• We discussed the large number of development projects currently underway, funded largely by the private sector, and how these will assist in the further growth of Gibraltar’s GDP and the continued diversification of the Gibraltar economy, in particular the development of a new marina, commercial and residential units on the eastside.
• We welcomed Gibraltar’s lead on tax transparency and highlighted the example it could provide to other jurisdictions around the globe
• We agreed that remaining in a reformed European Union would ensure both Gibraltar and the UK were stronger, safer and better off. It would give Gibraltar and Gibraltarians the best possible chance to continue building their remarkable success story.
• We recognised the vital importance of the EU referendum to Gibraltar and called on all those residents of Gibraltar eligible to vote to have their say in this historic decision.
• We recalled the UK’s continued commitment to stand by Gibraltar, in particular the UK’s commitment that it would never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes, nor would it enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content.
• We also discussed the continued strategic importance of Gibraltar and the UK’s continued commitment to doing everything necessary to defend Gibraltar’s sovereignty and security.
We paid tribute to the men and women of the British Armed Forces who work day in, day out to achieve these aims displaying their world-class professionalism. We agreed that Gibraltar would continue to have an important role to play in delivering the wider vision set out in the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.
• We also paid tribute to the hard-working officers of the Royal Gibraltar Police, Gibraltar Defence Police, HM Customs Gibraltar and all other agencies who contribute to keeping Gibraltar safe, and called for increased levels of cooperation with Spanish colleagues in this area.
• Finally, we underlined both the UK’s and Gibraltar’s ultimate desire to return to the Trilateral Forum for Dialogue with Spain as soon as possible.
• The UK and Gibraltar will continue to stand by together as we move forward to face the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.