The British Ambassador to Madrid has defended Gibraltar against attempts by the Spanish Foreign Minister to portray Gibraltar as a tax haven. In a letter published in El País Simon Manley says Jose Manuel García-Margallo is mistaken in his view, pointing out that Gibraltar has taken important steps to ensure that its tax system is open and fair.
Mr Manley highlights that the OECD includes Gibraltar in its list of jurisdictions that have substantially adopted international tax standards, and has the same rating as the United States, Germany and the UK.
He reminds Mr. García-Margallo that Gibraltar has signed 135 tax information exchange agreements with 80 countries, and offered to sign one with Spain, which the Spanish government has declined to do.
The Ambassador also rejects the Foreign Minister's assertion that Gibraltar is a colony. He notes that the Rock has its own Constitution, that gives its government and parliament political responsibility in all areas except foreign affairs, defense and internal security.
Mr. Manley says the UK and Gibraltar want to have a positive relationship with Spain and hope to be able to renew constructive dialogue with the Spanish government. But he concludes by stating that no attempts to make Gibraltar out to be what it isn't will change the reality of what it actually is.