Deformation Jesuit and convinced liberal, MEP José Manuel García-Margallo (Madrid, 1944) has been almost everything in Spanish politics, in which he was head of the Ministry of Foreign affairs between 2011 and 2016. Now he publishes, together with Fernando Eguidazu, former Secretary of State for the EU, Gibraltar. The second surrender (Almuzara), a story in which he criticizes the principle of agreement signed by the minister Gonzalez Laya and in which he laments the weight loss and destructive drift that we follow. “Spain has not won anything in agreement with Gibraltar“, he says.
-If Unamuno raised his head this week …
– He would repeat word for word what he said in 1915: “What does Spain want? Spain does not want anything, it wants to be left alone and even God has left it out of its hand.” We have lost the concept of the Spanish nation and its historical vision.
-History repeats itself.
–That explains from the surrender on the Gibraltar issue, by not taking advantage of the Brexi to advance and regain sovereignty, until no one is moved when there is talk of a dialogue table in Catalonia, in which amnesty and self-determination are going to be proposed. We are talking about the dissolution of Spain and it seems that it does not deserve the slightest comment or the slightest attention.
–Do we Spaniards pass from Spain?
– The idea of Spain has progressively deteriorated. In Gibraltar a constant claim has been waived since 1704, which was the first surrender. Now we are facing the second.
– Are Gibraltar and Catalonia unsolvable issues?
–Especially if there is no will to resolve. Catalonia is the consequence of a neglect of many years, in which the State has disappeared from Catalonia and they were allowed to hold two referendums of self-determination, in 2014 and in 2017.
-The Brexi I gave you the key. The negotiators knew that the EU and the United Kingdom could not conclude any agreement that did not have the approval of Spain, and they were not taken advantage of.
– Utrecht says that if the UK renounces sovereignty, Gibraltar has to go back to Spain. Furthermore, if Gibraltar wanted to remain in the common market, which was what they voted for, it could have accepted the formula of co-sovereignty, with dual nationality, self-government and, above all, the Hong Kongization of the area.
–That’s your proposal.
–Yes, create a special economic zone that includes Gibraltar, the entire Campo and Ceuta, with incentives for companies that would have liked to take advantage of the trade that passes through the Strait or be the base of companies that are going to establish themselves in Morocco. This point is very important in the area where you are to control immigration.
–Africa currently has 1,200 million inhabitants. In 2050, it will have 2.5 billion. The average age in Africa is 18 years. The EU is going to invest a lot of money there and we are facing it. That is vital, it would have given immediate work to the area, because Algeciras would have to be connected with the Mediterranean Corridor, an airport must be built and an area that at the moment cannot accommodate companies.
“But it hasn’t been done.”
–Three things have been accepted here: to give up asking for sovereignty, to give up ending a tax haven that drains the resources of the neighboring territory and to accept a situation of dependence of the Campo de Gibraltar on the British colony. Gibraltar’s per capita income is $ 92,000 and in La Línea it is $ 20,000. We are facing the greatest difference in income between two contiguous territories in the world, more than that between the southern US and northern Mexico.
-However, the Board and the mayors of the area signed the agreement.
– The GDP of the Campo is explained by 25% by Gibraltar, either by the workers or because the people from there come to spend the money. But that is bread for today and hunger for tomorrow, because the Gibraltar model, which is the third highest per capita income in the world behind Qatar and Luxembourg, is based on the fact that there are no taxes on added value, nor on the tobacco, or alcohol, or oil, or gambling … And the EU is not going to tolerate that, because if it has not wanted to tolerate a Singapore on the other side of the English Channel, it is hardly going to allow Cayman Islands in Gibraltar. This whole model is very short term.
“What would you have done then?”
–I would have put the people of the area to work in that sanitation and infrastructure to create the special economic zone. But they have to start tomorrow if they want to be ready. On the other hand, if the fourth euro economy cannot solve the problem of 10,000 workers, not all of them would be left without a job, far from it, it really does not deserve to be classified as a nation. That’s Unamuno, again.
“Why don’t we convince the Gibraltarians?”
-If you give them everything Laya has given them, what incentive will they have. Go to Monaco and ask if they want to be French. Why do I want to be French, if I live without paying taxes and with French social services …
“Have you managed to blow and sip the soup at the same time?”
-Of course. What company is going to establish itself in the Campo de Gibraltar paying taxes if it has access to the same market by establishing itself in Gibraltar without doing so. Do you know how many companies there are in Gibraltar?
– I do not have the data at hand.
–80,000, of which 25,000 are financial, and there are 33,000 inhabitants. It is the miracle of the loaves and fishes. With 33,000 inhabitants, 4.7 square kilometers and no natural resources, Gibraltar has the third per capita income in the world. Would you give it up?
-Not at the beginning.
-There is the explanation.
–Well, and after the 14-F elections, what do we do on the Catalan front?
–We must do a great national project, which we should have started in 2011, when it was seen that the map of the Transition had been blown up. We would have to carry out a two-year concentration government, with a very specific program, and after two years, we dissolve, and to whom God gives it, Saint Peter bless it.
– And how do you see the future of Pablo Casado?
– I am a Jesuit and Saint Ignatius, in his exercises, used to say: “In times of desolation, never make changes.” It is not the problem. It would be necessary to refound the center-right. Citizens and PP cannot continue throwing the tackle at the head. We have to unite for a common project.