01/02/2012 Spain/UK (KMC) - The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, has told Spain to get its priorities straight and drop any notion of reclaiming sovereignty of Gibraltar from the UK.
While speaking on Spanish ABC Punto Radio he said that Spain’s current unemployment situation is more important than ‘quixotic’ claims to Gibraltar.
The recently elected minister said: “In the 21st century we should not be making claims over each others houses. With five and a bit million unemployed, I have the impression that the Spaniards have other priorities.”
He also added that Gibraltar would never give permission for the United Kingdom to reopen talks on the sovereignty of the Rock.
His comments will no doubt anger the Spanish Popular Party government led by Manuel Rajoy, who announced it wanted to renew sovereignty talks with London.
The new leader claimed that he had British Prime Minister David Cameron’s support on the issue, and that the employment situation in Gibraltar is much better than in Spain. Approximately 6,000 Spaniards work in Gibraltar, while a much lesser number work in Spain.
He instead called on the Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, to treat Gibraltar as a ‘friendship with a neighbouring people’.
The British Secretary of State for Europe who is currently in Madrid for talks with his Spanish counterpart Iñigo Mendez de Vigo, seemed to echo Picardo’s claims by stating that Britain would only enter into sovereignty negotiations with Spain if Gibraltar was happy for it to do so.