UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, personally raised Britain’s concerns about persistent “illegal” Spanish incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters, it was revealed. Mr. Hague spoke to Gonzalo de Benito, the Secretary of State at the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, on February 20 on the margins of an emergency meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
About 150 sub-Saharan migrants managed to enter Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla on Monday after a group of 250 stormed a barbed-wire border fence, the Spanish Interior Ministry said. Spanish media showed video of those who got over the fence running down the streets of Melilla shouting “Barca, Barca!” as they headed toward a detention centre.
Spain believes negotiation with Britain is the only realistic avenue for a resolution of the claim it makes over Gibraltar and its waters and that only by a decision of the United Nations can decolonization of the Rock be settled.
Britain’s ambassador to Spain has expressed concern about continued queues at the border between Gibraltar and Spain. Speaking to reporters during a visit to the Canary Islands, Simon Manley said the queues were “curious” given Spain’s high unemployment and the fact that many Spanish workers were caught up in the delays.
Spain has no intention of interfering in Scotland’s push for independence and is willing to consider an eventual Scottish application to join the EU as a separate state, foreign minister García Margallo said in an interview with the Financial Times.
The influential founding editor of Spain’s second-biggest newspaper, El Mundo, stepped down on Thursday after a decline in circulation and a series of revelations of alleged corruption in the ruling party.
The European Union is not the only place where Spain punctiliously continues to press its position on Gibraltar as a clause in every international agreement. As recently as November 2013 amendment to the Basel Convention on the control of trans-boundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal, Spain introduced, via the office of the UN Secretary General, a communication relating to the territorial application by UK to Gibraltar.
One in three children in Spain lives at risk of poverty, the international charity Save the Children said in a report. The charity said austerity measures and cutbacks in public spending had worsened the situation and said the number of under-18s “at risk of poverty or marginalization”, an official EU measure of various aspects of economic hardship - soared to more than 2.8 million in 2012.
The Spanish Government has “not taken any step back” in relation to its Gibraltar policy “but it has taken many steps forward”, the country’s foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo has declared. Despite the issue having dropped profile in the news since recent weeks, it is an issue “permanently” on the Spanish agenda, the Spanish official told Onda Cero radio.
Lawmakers from the Spanish region of Catalonia voted to seek a referendum on breaking away from Spain on Thursday, setting themselves up for a battle with an implacably opposed central government in Madrid. The Catalan Parliament in Barcelona voted 87 to 43, with 3 abstentions, to send a petition to the national parliament seeking the power to call a popular vote on the region’s future.