Gibraltar “will be part” of the Brexit negotiations, Spain’s Minister for Education, Culture and Sport said on Wednesday, suggesting a marked shift from the hardline stance adopted by former Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo.
The UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee adopted this week a consensus decision setting out the conflicting positions of the British and Spanish governments on Gibraltar, and including – for the first time – Britain’s double-lock commitment on sovereignty. The decision was agreed by Britain and Spain despite the starkly contrasting views set out at the last session of the Fourth Committee in October, as reported by the Gibraltar Chronicle.
José Manuel García-Margallo urged his successor to pursue the “opportunities” that Brexit offered Spain in its sovereignty aspirations over Gibraltar. In a farewell speech as he handed over to Alfonso Dastis Quecedo, Spain’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs, García-Margallo listed what he believed were his main achievements in office and included his strategy on the Rock.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has dropped José Manuel García-Margallo from his cabinet, replacing him as Foreign Minister with a career diplomat from Jerez de la Frontera. Although there had been wide speculation that García-Margallo would not continue in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the appointment of 61-year old Alfonso María Dastis Quecedo took most pundits by surprise.
Gibraltar will be included in whatever deal the United Kingdom negotiates to leave the European Union, Britain’s ambassador to Spain has said. Simon Manley made the comment during a wide-ranging interview with the right-wing Spanish newspaper ABC, during which he also made clear “there is no turning back” from Brexit.
Spain’s caretaker Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, claimed that he had held “confidential” talks on co-sovereignty with “personalities” in Gibraltar. However the minister gave no indication as to who he had spoken to, according to Spanish press reports.
The Junta de Andalucia has distanced itself from Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel García Margallo’s joint sovereignty proposal for Gibraltar. Miguel Angel Vasquez says now is not the time to use inflammatory rhetoric or to talk about joint sovereignty.
Spain's Acting Foreign Minister says free movement across the Gibraltar frontier will automatically end unless Gibraltarians accept joint sovereignty proposal with Spain. Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo was answering a question by Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation at a press conference after he met with Andalusia politicians in Algeciras, including the mayors of Algeciras and La Linea. From Seville Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said no democratic nation would get away closing a frontier.
Neither in four years or in 4,000 or any other longer time, the Spanish flag will never fly over Gibraltar. It’s “No way, Jose”, so get used to it”, was the direct and clear message from Chief Minister Fabian Picardo to the Caretaker Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo who on Wednesday night vowed to “plant his flag on Gibraltar”.
Spain has said it will formally propose to the European Union that the question of Gibraltar be treated separately when it negotiates Britain’s exit. The acting Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo reminded journalists in Spain that when Britain leaves all EU treaties will stop applying to the Rock.