The Tussle over Gibraltar – Brexit

Much of the campaign about Brexit was aimed at putting out the so called fear mongering that the Remain campaign were propagating. And now barely few days after the British Prime Minister triggered Article 50, there is now talk of whether or not the UK will be going to war over Gibraltar.

Around thirty thousand Brits live in Gibraltar, a rocky terrain whose only border is Spain. To that extent we can say that Gibraltar is a strong member of the European Union. It is even somewhat an irony that virtually all citizens of Gibraltar voted to remain in the European Union during that the last EU referendum vote.

An irony that highlights the fate of many Londoners as well as Scottish people; being dragged against their will outside the European Union. Once can easily put forward a valid argument that London is as Britain as anyplace can be as it is even the commercial and capital of the UK.

Gibraltar on the other hand is an independent geographic location with its own parliament and its own governmental structure. It however reverts back to the United Kingdom (London) for decisions bothering on defence and foreign policy. It is important to note that Gibraltar was for over 750 years a Spanish area. It was just ceded to the British government around two hundred and fifty years ago.

And now that the UK has officially leaving EU, there is this debate about whether or not Gibraltar is a British area or a Spanish area. This discourse is given more strength especially given the fact that the entirety of Gibraltar voted to leave the EU.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo used the words “deep sorrow” to describe the aftermath of the EU referendum vote. He went further by suggesting that his constituents remained faithful Europeans as well as knowing that a leave vote will most likely hand over leverage to Spain.

It is even more worthy of note that over twelve thousand workers commute into Spain every day, yet most people from Gibraltar maintain that they are British. The leverage spoken of in the foregoing paragraph relates to the increasing weakness of Spanish claims over the territory.

On Friday, there was a major hint from the European Union that it would try to take back the territory of the tussle over Gibraltar after Brexit. In a draft negotiation document, the European Union strongly opined that there was no agreement between the European Union and the UK that will apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement of the UK and Spain.

This statement is suggesting that the United Kingdom will have to discuss directly with Spain on any Brexit related matter affecting Gibraltar.

This has not gone down well with the powers that be in the UK. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May was quick to pick up the phone to ring Picardo on Sunday morning just after the document came out and had quickly resonated in Spain. She told him that the United Kingdom remain steadfast in its commitment to its support for Gibraltar.

It is no longer news that the Brexit panorama has brought many a few twist and turns in the political climate almost immediately after the referendum. Should you need any advice on obtaining Permanent Residence to secure your stay in the UK or obtain a British Passport, please contact one of our specialist immigration lawyers on 02037442797.

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