Gibraltar’s recently elected chief minister, Fabian Picardo, has told Spain to forget about it’s sovereignty claim for the country and concentrate on more important issues.
In a radio interview with Spanish ABC Punto Radio, Picardo drew attention to Spain’s unemployment problem and insisted that is was more important than ‘quixotic’ claims over Gibraltar.
“In the 21st century we should not be making claims over each other’s houses,” he said.
“With five and a bit million unemployed, I have the impression that the Spaniards have other priorities.”
Picardo also said that Gibraltar would never give permission to the United Kingdom to reopen talks over the sovereignty of the Rock and he called on the Spanish foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, to treat Gibraltar with “friendship as a neighbouring people”.
“We should seek ways of working together to promote economic activity in the area in a way that is positive for people on both sides of the frontier,” Picardo said.
Picardo also said that he had the full support of David Cameron and pointed out that while only a handful of Gibraltarians travelled to Spain to work, up to 6,000 Spaniards work in Gibraltar.
Picardo’s comments were prompted by the Spanish governments announcement that they wish to renew talks with London over the sovereignty of Gibraltar, replacing the tripartite talks in which Gibraltar has an equal voice to Spain and the UK.
This follows comments from British Secretary of State for Europe, David Lidington, who said Britain would only enter into talks over sovereignty if Gibraltar was happy for it to do so.