THE Deputy leader has compared the current era of Brexit uncertainty to the closure of the frontier in 1969.
Joseph Garcia told the Olive Press that the feeling on the Rock – and the potential consequences of the UK’s departure from the EU – hark back to the fateful border closure ordered by Spain’s dictator General Franco 50 years ago.
“The closure of the border shaped us as a people,” Garcia said this week. “It had a profound impact on who we are today economically, socially and politically.
“An immediate consequence of the closure was that our links with the UK strengthened as the ones with Spain were cut off.”
The closer union led to the UK standing by Gibraltar at the United Nations and supporting the territory’s economy.
The election of the Integration With Britain Party under Bob Peliza a month after the frontier closed proved to be the first sign of this shift.
“Peliza came to power on the back of the empathy with the UK… and that was reflected in the referendum two years later,” explained Garcia.
“We are the product of that history so this is reflected in the identity of our generation.”
He added that he was pleased the Spanish government is no longer talking about closing the frontier as it was immediately after the 2016 referendum.
“Back then we had a foreign minister in Spain that believed it was the right thing to do.
“The PP government took the advice whether Spain was free to close the border and investigated the idea of a border toll.
“Fortunately, other foreign office ministers since have ruled that out. It is no secret that in relation to Brexit, one of the main concerns is how the border will flow in relation to people and goods from outside the EU.”
It is this new approach that has led to discussions and agreements being signed that make a frontier closure less likely, even after a hard Brexit.