DETAILS of the contents of a confidential report on Brexit and Gibraltar have appeared in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
In summary, the report – apparently produced by the Spanish Foreign Ministry – suggests that action will be taken to insist that Gibraltar is required to take action to ensure that it can no longer be considered a tax haven as part of Brexit demands.
In addition, Spain should continue to make all efforts to reinforce its claims for sovereignty over the Rock which was played down as part of it being allowed to join the European Union in 1968.
Assuming that this report has been sanctioned by Spanish Foreign Minister Dastis and is not simply a discussion document, the content seems to be at odds with far more conciliatory comments previously made by Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy.
Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo responded quickly saying “The Spanish Government’s mask is slipping. It is becoming abundantly clear that they want to try to use Brexit to take narrow advantage.
“Gibraltar will, as ever, continue to seek dialogue over Spanish vetoes and will seek co-operation and friendship over Spanish aggression and belligerence. Our goodwill and good faith will not be abused though. Soon Madrid will have to explain to the Campo why Spanish citizens starting work in Gibraltar post-Brexit don’t have the same rights as Gibraltarians in the work place.
“The answer will be the ‘pyrrhic victory’ that is Clause 24 of the Commission’s Guidelines and the Spanish Government’s decision to seek to leave Gibraltar out of any future arrangements between the UK and the EU. As usual, the main victims will be the Spanish workers in this region of high unemployment. As usual, the welfare of their own people has never got in the way of Spain’s neo-colonial ambitions over our homeland.”