The Spanish-British dispute over Gibraltar continues to grab headlines, with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy using the hoopla to direct attention
away from a huge campaign finance scandal in his party, as well as the nation’s economic disarray. Rajoy has even reached out
to the Argentinians, who have their own simmering territorial dispute
with the UK.The independence-minded
politicians in Spain’s Catalonia province aren’t playing along with Madrid, however. Catalonia’s Esquerra Republicana Party, which is making its own push for independence from Spain, has expressed its solidarity with the British leadership in Gibraltar. In a letter to the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Alfred Bosch, the head of Esquerra Republicana, denounced Madrid’s tactics. He continues, as quoted in the FT
We are convinced that the only solution to the issue of the Rock, as with the issue of Catalonia, is through dialogue, suffrage and the principle of self-determination. No question should be handled without consulting the people concerned.
The people of Gibraltar, just like the people of the Falkland Islands, overwhelmingly wish to remain British, a fact that is the backbone of British policy in both disputes. But Spanish acknowledgement of that principle would open the door for a vote on Catalonian independence. With Britain threatening legal action and the Catalonians reaching out to Spain’s rival, Rajoy may find himself in an even deeper mess if he beats the nationalist drum over Gibraltar.[Gibraltar image courtesy of Andrew Griffith]