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Spanish State Visit - will it now go ahead?
Posted by Guy Stair Sainty on 1/4/2017, 16:10:26
It seems that the age old problem of Gibraltar may scupper the Spanish State Visit at the beginning of June. Problems between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar have intervened before in what has otherwise been an excellent relationship between the two royal houses, particularly since British intervention in the Carlist wars of the 1830s and, more recently, the marriage of Alfonso XIII in 1906. This latest row was an unexpected consequence of Brexit as the existing relationship between Spain and the UK on this issue is governed by treaty arrangements which are nothing whatsoever to do with the EU. Nonetheless, although the 30,000 Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly for remain, they would expect to be governed by decisions of the UK in regard to negotiations over future relationships. This, however, would inevitably be complicated by the contiguous land border and the daily influx of some 5000 full and part-time Spaniards employed in Gibraltar - indeed Gibraltar is a key element to the prosperity of the neighbouring region, although often put at risk by periodic Spanish clampdown on border access (sometimes perfectly legitimately to prevent tobacco smuggling, at other times simply to disrupt the ability of Gibraltar to function). It seems that this potential conflict, however, may not have been initiated directly by the Spanish government but rather encouraged by the EU Commission, which has seen this thorny subject as a way to pressure Britain into moderating its demands in the forthcoming negotiations. Once the matter was raised, however, the Spanish government was ready to take advantage of it.
Despite this, aside from assuaging national pride, it is difficult to see what real advantage Spain would have from incorporating Gibraltar into Spain, against the wishes of almost the entire population of the Rock who do not want to be governed by Spain. The current prosperity of Gibraltar, based substantially on financial services, etc, would be destroyed immediately these advantages are withdrawn and Gibraltarians subjected to Spanish taxes and regulations. Those who generate the prosperity of the Rock can easily relocate elsewhere and will surely do so.
- Spanish State Visit - will it now go ahead? - Guy Stair Sainty 1/4/2017, 16:10:26
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