CHIEF Minister Fabian Picardo has said that a British EU exit would ‘destroy’ Gibraltar.
Writing an opinion piece on Politico Europe, Picardo announced that a ‘Brexit’ would have ‘disastrous consequences’ for Gibraltar’s economy.
He added that it would give Spain an ‘added weapon’ in its claim of the Rock, which could see Spain slam the border gate shut.
“It is a weapon Madrid has used before, trying to bully Gibraltar into a sovereignty arrangement that would have us abandon our inalienable status as a self-governing British Overseas Territory and become an unwilling part of Spain,” he wrote.
“There is a strong case to argue that if Britain reconsiders its position in the EU we, as a long-standing, law-abiding and integral part of that union, deserve once again to have our particular circumstances considered.
“Can we really cease to be EU citizens against our will? Can an EU member state, indeed the EU itself, now just cut us off? It is not that simple, surely.”
He added: “For us in Gibraltar, probably the smallest of the EU jurisdictions, losing the ability to freely provide services to the single market of 520m people would be an existential threat in economic terms.
“Gibraltar’s size is often our greatest challenge. Yet in the context of a UK exit from the EU, our problems, massive though they would no doubt be, would be discernible and identifiable.”
While the Conservative UK government does not support an EU exit, Prime Minister David Cameron has agreed to hold a referendum if re-elected.