Pushing Spain’s claim over the sovereignty of Gibraltar is “a fundamental objective” for Spanish foreign policy, according to budget plans presented by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Madrid this week.
The budget document makes clear that Spanish diplomats will push Spain’s position on Gibraltar in multilateral international for a and bilateral talks with other nations and leaves no doubt as to the focus that Madrid places on the sovereignty issue as a core foreign policy, with Gibraltar included in its list of top strategic objectives.
“It is a fundamental objective of Spain’s multilateral activity to push the necessary actions to establish the foundations that will allow Spain to recover sovereignty over Gibraltar and, with it, the territorial integrity of the State” states the document which was partly reproduced in the Gibraltar Chronicle by Brian Reyes.
“This objective must be defended not only through bilateral action but also through coordinated multilateral actions aimed at transmitting the legal and factual reality of the situation, and recalling and defending the legal and sovereign arguments that support the Spanish position.”
The document signals the UN as the key forum for this strategy, which includes analysis of the situation as well as involvement in international discussions.
The ministry’s draft budget proposal is part of wider national budget plans for 2016 tabled in the Spanish parliament last week. It includes numerous references to Gibraltar and sets targets to be put into action by the ministry’s Directorate General for Foreign Policy and Multilateral, Global and Security Affairs.
“Spanish foreign policy, in developing bilateral relationships with partner countries, maintains as one of its objectives to gain support for Spain’s right to recover the sovereignty of Gibraltar, within the framework of the doctrine established by the United Nations,” the budget document states.
“This active policy has three final goals: in the first place, to contribute to a final resolution of the dispute; in the second place, avoid any international violation in the matter; and finally, create an international consensus that helps defend the Spanish posture in the multilateral domain.”
“Independently of any actions taken in the multilateral domain to defend the recovery of Spanish territorial integrity, it is vital that Spain’s bilateral activity with all countries in the international community also seeks to achieve this objective”.
The Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ overall budget for 2016 will increase 1.8% to 1.47 billion Euros. A small part of that budget will be earmarked to prepare briefings, analysis and proposals on Gibraltar, an initiative that was put in place last year and will continue in the year ahead.
The document shows that the ministry expected to produce 40 such Gibraltar-related studies during 2015, but now expects that number to rise to 45. It has budgeted for that same number in 2016.