The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current PP MEP Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo considers the agreement signed between Spain and the United Kingdom on Gibraltar “nonsense and very difficult to implement in practice”, as it reveals the “lack of national will” and the “irrelevancia exterior“in which Spain is falling.
In an interview with Efe on the occasion of the presentation of his new book on Gibraltar, Margallo dissects the agreements and pre-agreements reached between Spain and the United Kingdom, sold as “a diplomatic victory” by the Government and which, in his opinion, represent the renunciation of all Spanish interests and the permanence of a “distortion” such as a tax haven and the maintenance of “a colony that in turn has Campo de Gibraltar as a colony.”
For Margallo, with the Brexit negotiation, the “greatest opportunity” to defend the interests of Spain has been lost: “It is as if you have a squat in your house and the EU gives you the keys and says that everything It will be done, it will be negotiated when you want, and you take it and tell the squatters you don’t worry, you stay there so calm that I am also going to pay you for electricity, gas and the garbage rate … what did you want then the key? It is not understood, it is not understood, ”he laments.
Titled Gibraltar, the second surrender, the book performs a historical and political journey from antiquity to the present day, of the strategic importance of the Rock and its relevance in the debate on decolonization and aims to be a “reference book on Gibraltar, because there is none that contemplates the aspect chronologically in all its dimensions and all the aspects: Utrech, United Nations, Brexit, economic issues, defense … “, says the author.
Half-signed with whoever was your Secretary of State for the EU, Fernando Eguidazu, the text also describes the co-sovereignty proposal that Margallo already defended when he was at the forefront of Spanish diplomacy and that the then Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, decided to archive.
“The proposal had advantages for all: 40 years of co-sovereignty in foreign matters and defense, to make a large Rota-Gibraltar base, there would be no Gate and Gibraltar would have been part of Schengen and the customs union, dual nationality, respect for the institutions of self-government and create a special economic zone between Gibraltar, Campo de Gibraltar and Ceuta “, lists nostalgic.
On the contrary, the preliminary agreement signed by the current minister, Arancha González Laya, “It is nonsense and very difficult to implement in practice” since it implies solving some day-to-day problems and “parking” the question of sovereignty for later, he criticizes.
“When you resign in a negotiation, from the beginning, your main objective is lost”, he assures before listing: “What did the United Kingdom want? sovereignty and a base that we pay for, because it is already free, the United Kingdom does not invest anything; What did Gibraltar want? continue living the best of worlds, with a special tax regime, with a very broad autonomy and within the internal market of the EU, and what did Spain want? Sovereignty, ending the tax haven and ending a model of dependence on the Campo de Gibraltar ”.
“The moment you give up raising sovereignty, you are surrendering, and the moment you give up all the tricks to negotiate what is the maintenance of the special tax regime and the mobility of people and goods and you are giving up assets for the next siege … the next negotiation“, it is corrected on the fly.
“When is he going to have a bigger chance? It cannot be that Gibraltar is better off with the UK outside the EU that with the United Kingdom inside “, laments.
Neither does the tax treaty signed by the United Kingdom and Spain solve the main problem, which is the lack of indirect taxes and the non-existent taxation of companies, and the four memorandums of understanding on tobacco, environment, workers’ rights and cooperation Police and customs are going to solve anything since they have no binding legal value, according to Margallo.
The only thing that has been achieved is “give Gibraltar a statehood it did not have, without saying a word about the tax regime and without solving any of the distortions of the system, “he assures.
Therefore, the former minister considers the negotiation closed by González Laya a “perfect mess”Which reveals the lack of national will and the fact that“ we have abandoned ”the idea of recovering Gibraltar or defending the national interest:“ it is a radical turn, it is a symptom of the loss of the concept of the historical mission of Spain, within and in the world ”.
But Margallo still has one hope, the EU rejects the terms of the pre-agreement between Spain and the United Kingdom so as not to have to perpetuate the “distortion”.
The other is for the Government to ensure that the agreement that is signed is not final, “that it has a temporary term, even if it is long, because if you are not tying the hands of all the governments that come after.”
And he concludes with the same phrase that concludes his book “if the Government perseveres today in temporizing and not facing the problem, we will be leading the second surrender of Gibraltar.”