The rock of Gibraltar

Gibraltar calls for more support against interference from Spain and the EU

Gibraltar calls for more support against interference from Spain and the EU

The Gibraltarian authorities ask the British government and the party of Theresa May for a greater commitment from London in supporting the Rock in the negotiations of Brexit.

Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, has called on UK Prime Minister Theresa May to make a commitment to defending Gibraltar’s sovereignty against Spain and EU interference in the manifesto that the Tories (the British Conservative party) have issued on the occasion of the next general elections.

The status of Gibraltar is the most thorny territorial issue for the United Kingdom in the negotiations of the Brexit with Brussels and, above all, with respect to Spanish diplomacy. When the EU published its lines of action for these negotiations, one of them was to allow Spain a right of veto against any decision that had a relationship with the Rock.

It should be noted that in the Brexit referendum, Gibraltarians voted 96% for “remain” and that, on their membership or not in Spain or the United Kingdom, they already held two other plebiscites in 1967 and 2002 with overwhelming NO victory (99.64 % And 98.48% respectively).

Although the Conservative party has not yet decided whether to include Picardo’s petition in the manifesto, Labor has also supported the defense of Gibraltarian sovereignty as British territory and considered it a “non-negotiable” affair

This dispute over Gibraltar is not only territorial, it is also fiscal. The Rock is known to have no VAT and to have a very low corporation tax, which allows about 15,000 companies from various sectors (especially note: investment, betting and Family Offices), are established in the Rock.

Picardo is opposed to fiscal harmonization (one of the eternal objectives of EU tax policy) and defends the right of each nation to establish its own taxes. Thus, accuses Spain of using the Brexit negotiations for Gibraltar to have to increase its taxes, reports the British newspaper Express.

The Gibraltar authorities are betting on a differentiated agreement for the Rock in the negotiations between London and Brussels that would allow them to preserve both access to the common market and enjoy the free movement of people.

This purpose is aligned with the so-called “trilateral theses” that advocate Gibraltar to be at the same level of decision as Spain and the United Kingdom in negotiating their affairs. This was the thesis that the Spanish government itself supported with the Tripartite Forum and the Cordoba Declaration in 2006, which was abandoned in 2011 when the Executive changed its political color.

On the other hand, Spain advocates bilateralism with the United Kingdom over Gibraltar, leaving out the citizens of the Rock, and proposes a territorial status for the Rock similar to Andorra or Monaco. In addition, the Spanish Constitution itself includes a procedure to incorporate Gibraltar into its territory in Article 144.b.

Before the Brexit negotiations, Gibraltar should not be used as a currency between Spain and the United Kingdom. This attitude could even poison these negotiations among the other European partners but, above all, what this behavior does is ignore the own claims of the Gibraltarian people.

At Del Canto Chambers, we specialize in international commercial and tax law, you can contact us at clerk@delcantochambers.com.

Del Canto Chambers’ Editorial Board

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