TROUBLES ESCALATE OVER GIBRALTAR – Diplomatic relations between Spain and Britain over Gibraltar have never been what you might call equitable; in fact it is, and is likely to remain, acrimonious.
In the last few weeks Spain appears to be upping the ante on forcing its position over sovereignty as news broke of a couple on a jet ski being fired upon by a Spanish Patrol Boat and then reports of the Spanish Air Force invading Gibraltar’s air space.
In Spain’s next step they decided to make things rather unpleasant for the thousands of motorist that commute to and from Gibraltar each day by setting up road blocks and checking passports and other paperwork. This measure by the Spanish Authorities is of course unnecessary however the Spanish Authorities simply appear to be trying any trick in the book to make life difficult for those living in Gibraltar and aggravate the British Authorities’; whose job it is to protect Gibraltar and its citizen.
As if stopping every vehicle wasn’t enough Spain is now threatening to charge those entering Spain from Gibraltar, for the purpose of employment, a fee of 100 Euros a day to cross the border; that’s 50 Euros each way.
Spain’s Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, made a statement to the press that Spain had been far too generous in the past with border crossings that that was now going to change.
According to statistics the 50 Euro each way fee, if implemented, would affect some 30,000 travelers every day; including approximately 10,000 Spanish citizens.
To add further to problems the Spanish Government is also suggesting that any residents in Gibraltar with homes in Spain will face a clampdown on taxes and is even considering closing Gibraltar’s airspace in order to disrupt commercial flights.
The British Government has responded by telling Spain that Gibraltar’s sovereignty would not be compromised and has summoned the Spanish Ambassador to a meeting with the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in order to explain this latest round of sabre rattling.
Gibraltar was handed over to the British as part of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. In 1967 and 2002 the people of Gibraltar rejected any proposals to transfer sovereignty over the Spain.
Much like the issue with the Falkland Islands it should remain the decision of the people who reside there which sovereign power has control; and like the Falkland Islands the residents of Gibraltar have made it perfectly clear to the Spanish Government that they wish to remain under British sovereignty.
With the number of altercations of late it’s time the British Government laid down the law and maybe even provide the Spanish Government a few home truths; one of these being that Spain wouldn’t be much of a country in present times if it wasn’t for the British taxpayer, along with other EU member states, bailing them out of their self-made economic meltdown.
Yes the truth hurts but rarely is the truth spoken. It’s time the British Government, or more specifically the Foreign Secretary, found his spine and told the Spanish Government they can please themselves but for every Spanish vehicle that crosses the UK border a 2,000 Euro fee will be levied; let’s see how long it takes before Spanish companies can no longer import their goods because of the cost implications.
The British Government should also step up its naval activities around Gibraltar and send a clear message to Spain that their actions and threats will not go unpunished.
The next time Spain comes to Britain with its begging bowl due to the incompetent fools running the country British should deny them any assistance. It’s time to put the matter of Gibraltar’s sovereignty to rest; it belongs to Britain, it’s what the people of Gibraltar want, case closed, end of.
Do you think Britain should step up and clearly tell the Spanish Government cease and desist all confrontational measures over Gibraltar? Do you think the Spanish Government has a legitimate claim over Gibraltar? Please leave your comments below.