INTERIM Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has issued a prepared statement in reaction to Britain’s vote to leave the EU, describing the decision as one which his government views with “sadness.”
Preaching a message of “calmness and serenity” to Spanish citizens, reassuring them that their employment legislation, freedom of movement, pensions and electoral rights would not be affected “at least for the next two years,” adding that this is “the same for British citizens who live in our country,” and “during that time the security of the legal relationships between the UK and the EU do not change.”
He also insisted that no referendum is on the cards for Spain, which “will remain committed to the EU.
“The EU is the area of greatest prosperity and wellbeing; we will continue building a better future between us.
“We need stability. Above all we will continue defending Spaniards’ interests and greater European integration.
“Spain now has a solid economic base in order to weather the financial turbulence which Brexit could cause. We are prepared.”
Rajoy’s remarks contrasted somewhat with those made on Spanish radio by Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, who called for joint sovereignty over Gibraltar in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain in Europe, with 95.9 per cent in favour, with Garcia-Margallo saying: “It’s a complete change of outlook that opens up new possibilities on Gibraltar not seen for a very long time.
“I hope the formula of co-sovereignty – to be clear, the Spanish flag on the Rock – is much closer than before.”
“We have been working hard on Brexit scenarios,” he added, declaring that “the instant the treaties stop applying, Gibraltar becomes a third country.”
Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, had earlier tweeted: “We have surpassed greater challenges. It is time for unity, for calm and for rational thinking. Together and united we will continue to prosper.”
Meanwhile, a prominent political analysist has said that Rajoy’s administration may benefit from the vote ahead of the general election on Sunday June 26.
“Brexit could help the prime minister to mobilise a segment of the population who were thinking about staying home until now,” said Madrid-based Ivan Redondo.