The knock-on effects of the Brexit vote in Gibraltar

Millennials and those born at the end of Generation X (i.e. 1980's - 2000) can consult their history books and older people with bad memories can do so too

LAST UPDATED: 26 Nov, 2016 @ 10:27
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Gibraltar
Gibraltar

NONE of us remember life before we were born but many of us should recall a time when the European Union did not exist in its present form.

Millennials and those born at the end of Generation X (i.e. 1980’s – 2000) can consult their history books and older people with bad memories can do so too.

There was a time before Brussels ruled Europe when countries in our extended and highly successful family of nations traded with each other and were able to deliver to their populations the highest standards of living in the world.

This is not the place to enter into a one sided discussion on why it is that even as the EU has become more powerful, Europe has lost its competitive advantage not just to the US and Japan but also to China and in several respects India too.

This column is intended to look at more practical outcomes post Brexit.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Thus, Donald Trump’s victory in the Presidential Election suggests that the United Kingdom may now become the US’s preferred trading partner over and above the EU.

Closer to home, there are interesting developments in the relationship between Gibraltar which is likely to withdraw from the EU together with the UK on the one hand and staunchly grateful, pro EU Spain.

The dismissal of the aggressively anti-Gibraltarian Spanish Foreign Minister Margallo promises a return to common sense.

Politicians in the Spanish areas near Gibraltar and even further afield, possibly as far away as the Castilian heartlands appear to be considering whether it might not be a good idea after all, post Brexit, to encourage good neighbourly relations.

A Spanish civil guard conducts a check on a car while other drivers wait in line to enter to the British territory of Gibraltar at its border with Spain
Cars wait toenter to the British territory of Gibraltar at its border with Spain

Javier Sanchez Rojas, the president of the Cadiz Business Confederation last week highlighted the importance of “quantifying” the benefits to both sides of good commercial relationships on either side of the Frontier.

He referred to the Fletcher report commissioned by the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce in 2015 which found that Gibraltar is responsible for one in four jobs in the Campo de Gibraltar and 25% of its GDP.

Sanchez Rojas rightly said that there should be a similar impact study on how much Gibraltar benefits from fluidity in business with the neighbouring region.

It is as wrong headed for Gibraltarians to ignore our ties with the hinterland as it was for Margallo to look down his nose at Gibraltar.

Gibraltar-Airport-British-AirwaysThe maximization of use of the Gibraltar airport, cooperation among the ports of Gibraltar and Algeciras, the development of a joint tourism product, coordination by the universities, schools, training centres, hospitals, clinics and a long etcetera are what politicians must now focus on.

None of these common sense aims require membership of the European Union.

In recent times there has been a groundswell of activity among trades unions, business associations and citizens’ groups on both sides of the Gibraltar border aimed at strengthening neighbourly links via the creation of European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation.

Dr. Martin Guillermo of the European Association of Frontier Regions recently explained that regardless of Brexit, institutional cooperation of the kind promoted by his high powered organization would survive the UK’s withdrawal from the EU when it comes to cross-border agreements involving Gibraltar.

brexit-sandcastle-2If by some quirk of fate the UK does remain, good, but we do not elect politicians to be professional doomsayers.

They stand for election and are voted in to provide solutions to challenges. Even as they thunder about whether or not and how and when Article 50 is implemented, the powers that be must have the vision and courage to promote practical regional cooperation.

Already there are some encouraging noises coming from various political leaders but more must be done and the pace needs to quicken.



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18 COMMENTS

  1. I think Spain should close the border and its airspace… Spaniards will eventually migrate of find other jobs… No country, including the UK, would tolerate an anomaly of the kind of STOLEN ROCK on Spanish Soil. What do you expect Spain to do, lower its head? You are out of your minds!
    I’m a US Citizen, a military veteran

    • You are a US citizen? Then butt out Yank, this has nothing whatsoever to do with you. I dont state my job title at the end of everything I post, because nobody cares!

    • Oh dear Jairo. Dear oh dear. If you sign a piece of paper to give a plot of land to another person at what point can you demand it back? And why would the person you gave it to be a thief? They actually gave Britain Gibraltar AND Minorca under the Treaty of Utrecht but being very kind we gave them Minorca back later.
      As a US citizen unless your name has native American links then I am not sure you should be talking about stealing lands. I suspect however that your name has Hispanic links instead.
      As a veteran you will have travelled the World and notices many anomolies of lands being owned by Britain that are a lot further away than Gibraltar.
      Everybody here in Gibraltar is quite happy being British so why would you want to change that?

  2. Being a Military Veteran does not appear to have improved your cognitive skills (did you sustain a blow to the head?). Gibraltarians have lived on the Rock of Gibraltar since 1704 which, if you know your history, is 73 years before the US Declaration of Independence.

  3. Jairo, totally agree, that is after California and Texas has been handed back to Mexico or in-dead after America itself has been handed back to the indigenous Indian people.

  4. Jairo demonstrates the bombast that a Trump win has released in many American citizens.
    Just watch Cuba become an American possession/colony now that Castro is gone.

    • Your quote:- “Just watch Cuba become an American possession/colony now that Castro is gone”. Well are you for or against it, and be careful on how you reply.

  5. “Thus, Donald Trump’s victory in the Presidential Election suggests that the United Kingdom may now become the US’s preferred trading partner over and above the EU”

    The thing is the UK is too little to compete with the EU.
    Most of all when you take in account that most of the multinational companies based in London will move to the EU once the article 50 is triggered.

    “the Fletcher report commissioned by the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce in 2015 which found that Gibraltar is responsible for one in four jobs in the Campo de Gibraltar”

    And yet it is Gibraltar the one who insists in having an open border.
    The question is, it is a report commissioned by the Gibraltar Chamber of whatever.
    Nobody can expect too much from it.

    As for the airport of Gibraltar, it is one of the worst, most dangerous on earth, and it is located on Spanish soil.
    As far as the whole world knows, neither the isthmus nor the waters were included in the Treaty of Utrecht.

    Now that Gibraltar is out of the EU, the border should be closed, for safety reasons.

  6. The best for Spain is to close the gate.
    And for the EU too.
    Nobody wants any kind of relationship with a tax haven and smugglers paradise like Gibraltar

    • You really are a sad little man.. Do you have nothing better to do with your life than this? When you are on your deathbed are you going to look back and be truly satisfied with what you have achieved in your life?

    • Totally incorrect statement Panlo, indeed Spain even had to admit this much this recently. I know this annoys you, but a fact it remains.

    • Begs the question why a Chilean should be so hung up on Gibraltar? Or the Anglo Saxons he casts so much opprobrium on? Surely a problem there?

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