RSS   Newsletter   Contact   Advertise with us

European Council approves that Gibraltar is colony of British Crown

Christian Fernsby ▼ | April 6, 2019
The European Council has been branded “irresponsible” over its inflexible position on draft legislation approved by the European Parliament on Thursday in which Gibraltar, at Spain’s insistence, was described as “a colony”.
Gibraltar
Europe   The footnote states that “Gibraltar is a colony of the British Crown”
The accusation was leveled by Sergei Stanishev, the European Parliament’s representative on the legislation, which aims to ensure Britons can travel throughout the EU without visas in the event of a hard Brexit as long as the UK reciprocates for EU citizens.

After weeks of controversy over the Gibraltar reference, a plenary session of the European Parliament approved the draft by 502 votes to 81, with 29 abstentions.

A last ditch attempt to pass a motion removing the footnote was defeated.

The footnote states that “Gibraltar is a colony of the British Crown” and that “there is a controversy between Spain and the United Kingdom concerning the sovereignty over Gibraltar, a territory for which a solution has to be reached.”

“In the end it was Parliament who demonstrated responsibility in order to avoid chaos, caused by the introduction of a visa regime, for British and European citizens.”

The European Council maintained its position on the controversial footnote under pressure from Spain, which had also lobbied intensively and, ultimately, successfully to remove the European Parliament’s first rapporteur on this file, UK MEP Claude Moraes.

Mr. Moraes has spoken openly in recent days of the pressure he was subjected to by Spanish MEPs and the Spanish media.

In a tweet after the vote yesterday he called out Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for his triumphalism reaction to the outcome of the vote, insisting it was the product of “a dirty process with no legitimacy”.

Spain trumpeted the vote as a triumph for Spanish diplomacy, highlighting the fact that it was the first time that the EU had referred to Gibraltar as a colony in a regulation.

But there was no doubt too that despite the overwhelming parliamentary support for the measure, Spain’s politicking had rankled MEPs.

“This is an important step for guaranteeing visa-free travel between EU and UK after Brexit, especially in case of no deal,” Mr Stanishev said.

“It is no secret that the negotiations were blocked over Council’s persistence on the Gibraltar footnote, a matter unrelated to the essence of the report.”

“This irresponsible approach seriously undermines the spirit of sincere cooperation between the EU institutions.”

“In the end it was Parliament who demonstrated responsibility in order to avoid chaos, caused by the introduction of a visa regime, for British and European citizens.”

The reference to colony is contained in a single footnote in the regulation and has no legal bearing on Gibraltar.

Marco Aguiriano, Spain’s state secretary for Europe at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said the inclusion of the footnote was of “political and symbolic” significance, but acknowledged that it would have no impact on Gibraltar’s political reality.


 

MORE INSIDE POST