Spain wants return to Brussels Process

Relations have long been strained

Spanish workers employed in Gibraltar have reacted to attempts by the Spanish government to separate itself from the island, saying it could lead to the loss of jobs.

In relation to the continuing dispute between Spain and Great Britain over the islands sovereignty Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s new prime minister is expected to refuse to enter into discussion about Gibraltar and the previous trilateral talks.

Rajoy’s party manifesto is unambiguous stating that “In relation to the Gibraltar dispute, we will recover the Brussels process.”

The Brussels Process was put together in 1984 to protect the rights of the Spanish in Gibraltar and of Gibraltarians in Spain but was “paused” in 2002, replaced by the Tripartite Forum which includes Spain, UK and Gibraltar.

On Saturday Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo made a live appearance on a regional television breakfast show and said that Gibraltar would not be willing to engage Spain in discussions of sovereignty.

When asked by the interviewer he responded “Would you be willing to discuss your country’s sovereignty with me?”.

During the interview, which covered domestic issues and cross-border relations, Mr Picardo added that just as the Spanish Government would not be prepared to discuss “the sovereignty of Ceuta and Melilla with me, why should I discuss my sovereignty with Spain?”

At a time when Spain has reached record levels of unemployment jobs need to be protected, not used as a bartering tool. Relations between Gibraltar and Spain have long been strained and this situation is not going to help.

In La Linea last year there were suggestions of charging a toll to access Gibraltar through the town as there were many tourists passing through but few stop in the town to spend. La Linea also suffers from high unemployment with many locals crossing the border to work in Gibraltar.

Saying that, La Linea is little more than a ghost town, washed in from the past with little or no investment in the area. There is no reason to stop there as there is nothing to see. To attract visitors towns need “attractive things”, otherwise why stop? The Mayor could better spend his time looking for investment, rather than coming up with ideas designed to further strain relations between the countries.