Spanish Crisis Spells Uncertain Future for Gibraltar
As reported by Investors Offshore, the already fractious relations between Spain and Gibraltar are expected to deteriorate if the People’s Party is elected, as anticipated, in forthcoming Spanish elections, which have been brought forward to November as a result of the country’s debt crisis.
Prime ministerial candidate, Mariano Rajoy has already said the party will look to reduce Gibraltar’s powers in trilateral talks on cooperation with the United Kingdom.
While significant friction still remains, in the past decade the bilateral relationship between Gibraltar and Spain has improved significantly following the decision to hold trilateral talks between the United Kingdom, Spain and Gibraltar, with Gibraltar given the opportunity to contribute in the dialogue on issues arising between Spain and Gibraltar.
Rajoy has said that his government would seek to restore the idea of ‘Two Flags (the United Kingdom and Spain), Three Voices’. This would remove Gibraltar’s power of veto over discussions pertinent to the territory, and force it to mediate issues with Spain through the United Kingdom, potentially reducing its influence in discussions.
The People’s Party seeks to backtrack relations to ensure that Gibraltar is not recognized as a territory separate from the United Kingdom following years of disputes between Spain and Gibraltar over its autonomy.
Bilateral relations between the Rock and Spain had been set to improve further with the signing of a tax information exchange agreement, providing evidence of Gibraltar being a transparent international financial centre. However, the relationship has soured recently over maritime boundary disputes.