Spain must understand that there is no point talking to Britain about the future of Gibraltar unless Gibraltarians themselves are involved in shaping that future from the very outset.
This was the essence of the message from Governor Sir Francis Richards in his Christmas address to Gibraltar, reports The Gibraltar Chronicle.
Sir Francis also expressed hopes that Gibraltar over the past year had gained greater confidence that Britain will stand up for Gibraltar's rights and interests.
Speaking at the end of his first eight months on the Rock Sir Francis did foresee "plenty of difficult issues ahead" for Gibraltar, but he also looked forward to the tercentenary celebrations and the Royal visit by Princess Anne.
The Governor recognised that when he arrived Gibraltarian confidence in Britain had been shaken by the joint Spanish-British sovereignty episode.
On the tercentenary commemoration he said he looked forward to the many events which the Gibraltar Government and armed services are preparing for.
"After 300 years the red and white Rock of Gibraltar is ?clearly marked with its own identity - an identity which is as British as Johnny Wilkinson and as Gibraltarian as "calentita". I know that Her Royal Highness will enjoy discovering it as much as my wife and I have."
Sir Francis placed great emphasis on the unity in the community.