16th February 2021, 17:31
Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo has classified Spain’s negotiations on the in-principle agreement on Gibraltar as a complete disaster. Speaking ahead of the publication of a book he’s written on Gibraltar, he says he remains hopeful, the EU will reject the treaty and not ‘perpetuate’ the historical distortions.
Those who accused Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo of having been obsessed with Gibraltar may now feel vindicated by the fact that it’s the subject of his next book. In an interview promoting it, the former PP Foreign Minister describes the in-principle agreement on Gibraltar as madness, adding it will be very difficult to implement in practice. It shows, he says, a lack of national will and the International irrelevance that Spain is descending into.
His main gripe is with the Spanish socialist Government, who he reiterates, has missed the best opportunity to defend Spanish interests with Brexit. He compares the situation to allowing a squatter in your home and offering to pay their bills while believing yourself to be in control because you still hold the keys.
The book, intended as a chronological reference, covers Utrecht, the United Nations and Brexit. It also deals with the proposal of joint sovereignty, voted against by 99 percent of Gibraltarians in the 2002 referendum.
This overwhelming rejection, has apparently not sank in and Mr Margallo appears to still be, living the dream. In nostalgic musings he says he offered what this deal does: the removal of the physical frontier, a Gibraltar in Schengen and in the Customs Union, and a zone of prosperity with the Campo. It however, also included joint nationality and 40 years of joint sovereignty. In contrast, he says, the current deal parks sovereignty, which according to him means Spain has surrendered before it’s began, throwing in the towel for this and other negotiations. Gibraltar he adds, will have the best of both worlds and will now be better off with the UK out of Europe than it was with the UK in Europe. The only thing this deal does, he says, is give Gibraltar a status it never had - without solving any of the historical issues.
His hope now is that either the treaty is not ratified or that it’s given a shelf life, if not he says, future Spanish Governments will find their hands are tied when it comes to the Rock