Saturday, April 20th 2013 - 08:48 UTC

Gibraltar will commemorate, not celebrate the 300 year of the Treaty of Utrecht

Gibraltar will commemorate, not celebrate the 300 year old Treaty of Utrecht this year, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, told members of the Fabian Society in London earlier this week. The treaty refers to the cession in perpetuity by Spain to the British Crown of Gibraltar in 1713 under Article X of the agreement which put an end to the War of Spanish Succession (1701/1714)

Spain would be delighted to be provoked by a celebration, said Chief Minister Picardo

The Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1713 between Spain and England

Over the years, in the context of European agreements, Mr Picardo said Spain had signed a number of treaties which should have put the issue of Gibraltar well beyond not just its reach but well beyond its ambition.

“And yet even today and I feel this is the significance of the 300 years – even today 300 years later, we are still one of the focal points of Spanish diplomacy. These guys must begin to find something better to do,” he stressed.

Following an upbeat and positive address on ‘Gibraltar in Europe today’, Utrecht was just one of the many issues raised in a question and answer session from the small group of well informed members of a Society which has played a central role for more than a century in the development of political ideas and public policy on the left of centre in Britain and Europe.

Other topics included climate change, Gibraltar’s relationship with Morocco and MAGREB countries, economic challenges, its strategic military importance, contemplating her own membership of the EU, illegal immigrants and sport.

Among those present was Chairman of the All Party Gibraltar Group in Parliament, Jim Dobbin, Labour Candidate to the European Parliament for the South West and Gibraltar, Hadleigh Vaughn Roberts, Lawyer and Labour political activist Sarah Sackman, and representatives from the various branches of the Society.

Introducing Mr Picardo, Giles Wright from the Society said it was the first time a Chief Minister had addressed the Fabian Society and he was also the first Leader of a Labour Party in the premises, and indeed the first speaker to be called Fabian himself.

Chief Minister Picardo spoke of the importance of commemorating the Treaty of Utrecht “if only to understand that it was possible for superpowers, who knew only blood and weapons, to find a method of making themselves being understood by each other, and yet today the Government of Spain will not sit down around the table with the democratically elected government of the people of Gibraltar, to try and deal with the transportation of fruit across the frontier, or how Spanish pensioners, who worked on the Rock pre-69, should be paid. It is really quote galling that it was possible to see co-operation in a Dutch town, 300 years ago, and it is not possible to see it today”.

Therefore, he pointed out, it was important to recall there was an agreement which ended wars which today we commemorate, but “to celebrate a treaty that Spain insists denies the Gibraltarians the right to deny their political future because she has a right to pre-emption, should Britain ever decide she does not want to keep Gibraltar, and which prohibits certain races or categories of individuals living in Gibraltar, which Spain says denies Gibraltar any territorial waters, is not something we are going to fall into the trap of doing.”

But the Chief Minister was of the opinion that Spain “would be delighted to be provoked by us celebrating the treaty” in some way. And he assured: “We are not going to do that. We are hopefully going to put the treaty into its proper context when we commemorate the day of its signature, and explain widely in the academic world what it is that the Treaty did or did not do, and why it is, to a very great extent been taken even today by Spain, in a vain attempt to justify the unjustifiable“.

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1 Anglotino (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 09:33 am Report abuse
Should Gibraltar declare independence, then the Treaty of Utrecht would be a moot point.
2 cornishair (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 09:56 am Report abuse
1 Anglotino. I was thinking that, the UN charter supercedes the Treaty of Utrecht :) no matter what the Spanish government thinks. I do hope the Catalans get their freedom!.

A bit like Argentina signing the UN charter and not reading the small print.
3 Anglotino (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 10:09 am Report abuse
@2 Cornishair

First off, Cornwall? Love it. My ex was Cornish. From Redruth. Been all over. Falmouth, Tintagel, Mousehole (not sure if the spelling but know to say mersl).... oh and Newquay.

I agree the UN Charter does supersede the Treaty should the declare independence. I would say that the UK government knows this and decided that the status quo suits it better. Should the UK leave the EU, then I'd say this might change

I know there is one guarantee, Gibraktar won't be part of Spain in the future. Though considering Catalonia, Spain has bigger fish to fry. I rate Catalonia's chances of independence as quite high.
4 screenname (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 10:13 am Report abuse
@1 Anglotino:

Spain already invades the waters around Gibraltar, so I think their intentions would be pretty clear. If Gibraltar went alone. I would imagine Madrid would attempt the same 'peaceful' methods as Argentina: total economic strangulation.

The UK pussyfooting around Spanish aggression is reminiscent of their actions that led to the Falklands conflict with Argentina.

The best thing that the UK could do would be to follow the example of other European nations when it comes to self-interest, and put measures in place to annihilate the British portion of the Spanish tourist industry while simply refusing to pay any resultant EU fines. Alongside this make it very clear to the Canary Islands, Catalonia and the Balearic islands, and the Basque country that sanctions against areas will cease if/when they break away from imperialist Madrid. Madrid uses bully boy tactics to try and reduce the independence vote in these lands (including threatening an independent Scotland's EU status), so why should the UK not give them a taste of the detriment that Madrid brings.

It may cause short-term chaos with the euro, but that is a broken concept anyway, and the UK economy showed be aided by internal tourism.
5 cornishair (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 10:27 am Report abuse
3 Anglotino. lol yep im cornish :) helston, nice place but pretty boring! tis only good in the summer. oh a redruth girl, we have many joke about that (no offence)

I've alway found it funny that countries don't understand the UN charter, you sign it you have to abide by it!. but then some country's are still stuck in the 19th century.

Catalonia's intresting high support for independence, but unlike the UK the central government won't give legal support for a referendum & i've read a news report that a Spanish general his basically said over his dead body (seconded Spanish civil war?).
6 screenname (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 10:38 am Report abuse
@5 cornishair:

Madrid will do its best to block any breakaway states from ANY EU countries from being a member of the EU. Catalonia's biggest trade partner is also the rest of Spain, and Madrid has indicated they would do their best to block imports (and also discourage the purchase of imports) from an independent Catalonia.

I don't think that Madrid would have to start a shooting war to beat Catalonia into submission, they currently have a big enough economic stick for that – even though Spain is a piss poor country.

The only way to help Catalonia on its way to independence (which polls seem to suggest Catalonians aspire to) is to both show Catalonia the negatives of being associated with Madrid, and somehow gets Madrid to grow up.
7 Anglotino (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 02:39 pm Report abuse

Yes Spain is not having a good time of it. But as Serbia and Kosovo proved today, some breakaway states are too big to ignore.

Maybe Gibraltar should declare independence the same day as Catalonia. Hard to argue it is a special case.
8 Conqueror (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 02:46 pm Report abuse
It may be worth remembering that Catalonia can be seen either as a pawn in feudal power games or as stolen territory, depending upon how strongly one feels. In the Middle Ages, Catalonia was Frankish. In 1137, a dynastic marriage made Catalonia part of the Kingdom of Aragon under French rule. By 1258, the French king gave up his feudal overlordship and, as part of the Kingdom of Aragon, Catalonia essentially became independent. As late as 1640-52, the Reapers' War saw Catalonia in rebellion against the Spanish Crown for stepping on Catalonia's rights. The “end” came with the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), when Catalonia and other Aragonese territories supported the Hapsburg claim to the Spanish Crown. In 1716, piqued by this, the Bourbon king incorporated the Aragonese territories under the Crown of Castile. Reflecting its history, Catalonia is probably more Gothic than Moorish. With a similar work ethic. As of 2008, Catalonia had the highest regional GDP in Spain similar to that of countries such as the United Kingdom or Austria. In 2011, Catalonia ranked the 50th largest country subdivision by GDP (nominal), just behind Queensland (Australia) and ahead Rio de Janeiro state (Brazil). And thus Spain's fear. Without Catalonia, Spain would probably revert to a country of peasants and rich non-workers. Hardly a desirable result for the so-called “People's Party”. Steeped as it is in the attitudes of the 18th and 19th centuries.
9 aussie sunshine (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 05:47 pm Report abuse
The Spanish Constitution does not permit secession. The Constitution would have to be reformed and both mayor political parties have so far refused to do no Independence for The extreme nationalist catalan political party.
10 briton (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 07:29 pm Report abuse
The Spanish Constitution does not permit secession

Silly billy
Constitutions can be changed,
Just ask

Britain does not want to upset spain, or its European mates,

This is wehat happens when we become pacifists and scared to back our friends for fear of offending others,

I said it once and I will say it again,
Right or wrong,
The biggest danger to our territories is not enemies but our own politicians.
Never trust em.
Just my opinion.
11 Britworker (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 10:46 pm Report abuse
It sounds like Minister Picardo has Spain's number, I can't see him giving in to independence to make the Gibraltarians existence more palletable for Spain.
12 screenname (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 11:27 pm Report abuse
@9aussie sunshine : 'The extreme nationalist catalan political party'

Not wanting to be ruled from Madrid does not make you an extreme nationalist...ask Argentinians.

Oh...I see what you mean.

Well, I think you will find Catalonians are a very civilized people if you ever meet any.
13 Anglotino (#) Apr 20th, 2013 - 11:28 pm Report abuse
@9 Aussie Sunshine

As per usual you miss the point.

Catalonia doesn't need the Spanish constitution for a unilateral Declaration of Independence.

The rest of Spain can gnash its teeth all it wants; if Catalonians vote for independence and Catalonia declares it, the government in Madrid can only attempt to frustrate it not prevent it.
14 Martin Woodhead (#) Apr 21st, 2013 - 09:03 am Report abuse
The Spanish claim to gib would be less hypocritical if they didnt hold tiny bits of africa.
15 aussie sunshine (#) Apr 21st, 2013 - 01:16 pm Report abuse
Just a couple of years back the Basque government tried to do the same thing..but on the eleventh hour they backed down. Why?? simple, if they had carried on with it, the Spanish parliament can under the constitution
take away their regional autonomous government and be ruled directly by the central government......
16 briton (#) Apr 21st, 2013 - 07:44 pm Report abuse
Just a couple of years back the Basque government tried to do the same thing..but on the eleventh hour they backed down.

why why why why,

would it not be prudent to find out,
rather than presume spain was the answer.
17 Anglotino (#) Apr 22nd, 2013 - 10:02 am Report abuse
@15 Thanks sunshine

“the Spanish parliament can under the constitution take away their regional autonomous government and be ruled directly by the central government”

Sounds like the perfect reason to have a referendum and declare independence if your autonomy is so easily removed at the whim of the central government

I love it when someone provides the proof to back up my own argument.
18 Brazilian (#) Apr 22nd, 2013 - 01:41 pm Report abuse
Catalonia will probably gain independence eventually and Scotland will probably break away from the UK.
19 ChrisR (#) Apr 22nd, 2013 - 02:17 pm Report abuse
18 Brazilian

Yes of course dear, keep taking whatever it is you are on while the rest of us deal with reality.

I don't know about Catalonia but it would be completely out of context if the Scots vote for independence if only for the fact that Salmonds lack of intelligence and his lying is now coming to the fore.

And no matter what the English say, the Scots are not stupid and they know which side their bread is buttered on.
20 Brazilian (#) Apr 22nd, 2013 - 04:29 pm Report abuse
ChrisR, I don't really care about what happens to you Europeans. What happens in your countries is the problem of the people who live there. I saw on a website that most people from Catalonia favour independence, as well as people in Scotland. If that is true or not, once again, I don't really care, and to be truthful, I don't think the rest of the world really gives a rat's as*. Braveheart is a great movie though ;)
21 briton (#) Apr 22nd, 2013 - 06:00 pm Report abuse
rats rats
the worlds full of rats.
because one says so.

if one does not care,
why does one comment.

we care,
thats why you comment lol.??
22 Anglotino (#) Apr 22nd, 2013 - 08:32 pm Report abuse
A link to those website would make your claim on Scotland more believable Brazilian. Wishful thinking isn't a fact.

At least the UK believes in the right of Scotland to hold a referendum and isn't banning it like the Spanish government
23 Brazilian (#) Apr 23rd, 2013 - 02:12 pm Report abuse
# 22 - I'm not going to google it again, but you can free to do so. Like I said before, if that is true or not, I don't really care. It's not going to affect me in any way. If it is the will of the majority of the people of a nation to gain independence, then it should be done. I guess we'll all just to wait and see what happens.
24 briton (#) Apr 23rd, 2013 - 06:50 pm Report abuse
then Argentina should leave the falklands alone..

should they not..
25 britanico (#) Apr 23rd, 2013 - 10:45 pm Report abuse
If Gibraltar became independent, it would have the same relationship with Spain that Monaco has with France - it would be a protectorate.

Serbia has been pressured into normalising its relations with Kosovo, which it still regards as a breakaway province, before it can join the EU. A pity Thatcher didn't force Spain to do the same before it could join the EC -

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