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UK and EU have not been firm enough with Spain, claims former Royal Navy chief

Tuesday, November 26th 2013 - 20:41 UTC
Full article 18 comments
”There is no doubt that Spanish actions are outrageous, provocative and dangerous” said Lord West ”There is no doubt that Spanish actions are outrageous, provocative and dangerous” said Lord West

Current events in Gibraltar and the continued incursions by Spanish vessels in the Rock's territorial waters were addressed in a strong piece in the Daily Telegraph by the former head of the Royal Navy, Lord Admiral West. This follows calls from British MPs last week for pressure to be brought on Spain within the context of NATO.

 Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Admiral West said the Spanish “…seem to be intent on provoking some sort of crisis. This is extraordinary behavior for a democratic European state in the twenty first century and more akin to that of a Fascist dictatorship or banana republic”.

Lord Admiral West sketched out Rock’s history in the opinion piece and made clear that the people of Gibraltar had expressed a wish to remain British.

He said the EU had been “far from helpful” to the democratic wishes of the people of Gibraltar by allowing Spain to designate a Spanish EU nature site in British waters.

The former navy chief, who also served as Parliamentary Undersecretary of State responsible for security, counter-terrorism and police in the Labor government of Gordon Brown, warned of the risk of escalation in the seas around the Rock. “There is no doubt that Spanish actions are outrageous, provocative and dangerous,” he wrote.

Lord Admiral West said the UK had made clear that it would never enter into agreement on sovereignty without agreement of the government of Gibraltar, “in other words the Gibraltarian people”, and no one can be in any doubt about their views.

“The Spanish should accept the status quo and welcome Gibraltar as another European nation, and who knows in 100 years they may want to be part of Spain?,” he wrote. “An issue of such complexity cannot be resolved at a stroke and certainly not by bullying.”

“Britain must never submit to blatant provocation and harassment” and “I hope the Government is looking at options to reassure the people of Gibraltar and stabilize the situation by reinforcing our maritime presence around the Rock.”

“If force levels give an impression of lack of commitment then things are more likely to escalate.”

Admiral Lord West said he feared that the UK Government “has been burying its head in the sand and ignoring growing provocation despite warnings by a number of us, particularly Lord Richard Luce, a past Governor of Gibraltar.”

“It has to learn that, rather like appeasement, ignoring a problem seldom makes it go away,” he added.

“The EU is also surprisingly quiet on this issue and should perhaps warn one of its member states about the dangers of provocation of a close partner”, concludes Lord Admiral West.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Briton

    In a nut shell,
    the time has come for action,

    for spain, time is running out.

    Nov 26th, 2013 - 08:54 pm 0
  • Britworker

    There are so many issues at play here. London will in the next few months tell Scotland that the rest of the UK will not enter into Sterling Zone with them should they choose independence. The ONLY other currency option Alex Salmond has is the Euro, but EU membership will depend on the agreement of ALL member states. The UK are banking on Spain refusing their membership out of fear of setting a framework for Catalan independence.

    The Spanish are well aware of this, hence the reason that over the next 10 months they will be attempting to get away with as much as they can where Gibraltar is concerned while the UK's hands are tied. My guess is that after the independence vote in September 2014, regardless of the outcome, the UK will come crashing down on Spain.

    Nov 26th, 2013 - 09:48 pm 0
  • DanyBerger


    Wait a minute... This is not the same guy former known as Captain West?

    The same that lost his ship Arcent in the Falklands/Malvinas war in 1982 sunk by the Argies?...

    The same that after that was crying like a coward for that in front of any interview made by BBC?

    Bloody ‘ell how this incompetent managed to arrive to Admiral?

    And now he is claiming to be tough with the Spanish????


    Nov 27th, 2013 - 05:36 am 0
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