It’s been a very tense two weeks for Gibraltar. The cross-border relations between Spain and Gibraltar have hit an all time low. Following frequent and almost incessant incursions in to British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW), by not only local Spanish fishermen, but also by Guardia Civil vessels, HM Government of Gibraltar decided to implement a new plan, for the environment of course. So, Gibraltar now has an artificial reef, made up of concrete blocks, on the sea bed within its waters.
What’s the big ruckus about? Well, it would seem that the Spanish Government has seen this as a great opportunity to renew threats and impose punishments on the people of Gibraltar. Not only the people of Gibraltar, but also in excess of 7,000 of it’s own, that rely on Gibraltar as a source of income to help provide for their families.
Now, why would Madrid think that Gibraltar’s new artificial reef is worth looking into? Well, it doesn’t! What it is doing is, using a great opportunity, provided by HM Government of Gibraltar, to push attention away from multiple socio-economic issues that are currently crippling their country. For example, a corruption case against main officials in government, over a quarter of the country suffering from unemployment and coffers that are so bare it makes Mother Hubbard’s cupboard look like a regular Aladdin’s cave!
So what can they do? Well, legally nothing. The waters are BGTW, although they do not recognise this. The frontier is one of the only frontier’s that require checks of each vehicle in Europe. Is that against the European freedom of movement? How about refusing concrete and aggregate trucks from entering Gibraltar? Is that in line with the European Union’s rules for free trade? I think not. But for now it would appear that nothing more can be done, other than heighten the world’s awareness of the problem, which, HM Government has done very well.
Fabian Picardo has appeared on nearly every major UK news outlet, as well as being quoted in the US, Canada and all across the globe. So a new level of media campaign, never seen before for Gibraltar, has created a bit of a stir. So where’s the negative to all this? Well choice of words, for a politician, are always important. Even more so should the politician be speaking to the WORLD! What am i referring to?
Let’s get one thing very clear, yes the Spanish government are trying to tighten the noose at the frontier, and even causing a LOT of problems because of it, but, we are not yet at the level of North Korea, are we? Is there something the Government knows that we don’t?
This quote has gone worldwide. Which is great, in one sense. The world can now see how Spain treats Gibraltar. However, when it comes to Gibraltar PLC, inward investment and Gibraltar as a great choice of Finance Centre, this could be enough to put some people off.
Is this what we want? We have a growing economy, something that any European nation would love to have. GDP up by 7.8% in the last year, cash reserves and inward investment in the form of luxury floating hotels, new businesses and people. What will people think when looking at where to go? When they read the newspapers? Or even when they happen to be watching Sky News at home and see that Gibraltar is not only gridlocked, coming under fire from Spanish Government, but on top of that is being compared to the situation of North Korea.
The words above are just my own thoughts and a bit of a rant at the end of the day, but think about it… Would you invest in South Korea with tensions rising?