Staff July 30, 2020

It is incredible what passions some images evoke. The recent meeting between the Chief Minister the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP and the Spanish Foreign Secretary Ms Arancha Gonzalez Laya is such an occasion. It is undeniable that the image of both sat at a table evokes pride in some and panic in others.

Certainly, from Gibraltar´s point of view, this is not about point scoring or trying to upset anyone in Spain. It is, as it has always been, an attempt to try and work in the interests of both Gibraltarians and the residents of the Campo area. The present situation is a unique occasion and one that augers well for such cooperation.

It remains to be seen what practical arrangements can be made and the negotiations will no doubt be difficult and tense. It is, however, an incredible opportunity to map out a new future for the area.

One that is not stuck in past tensions and prejudices. One that simply seeks to develop a relationship of mutual respect where the well-being of the people of the area is foremost in the decisions taken.

This should be a simple thing to do. But there is the complication of narrow minded and self-centered individuals who insist on acting in their own interests rather than represent the interests of those who vote for them in the area.

This is not the first time that Gibraltar offers this opportunity. The building components factory built in the North Mole was originally intended for the La Linea area. This was before the property boom in Spain. Had the proposal been well received by the Spanish Government, who knows the prosperity this would have brought the area. It would certainly have created a huge source of employment for the area and would have been hugely beneficial both for Gibraltar and the Campo.

In fairness, there is a different atmosphere to this occasion. The crisis we shall all have to work our way through, post Covid, will certainly be weighing heavily in everyone´s minds. An opportunity to create wealth and employment, in one of the most depressed areas in Spain, should not be taken lightly by the central Socialist Spanish Government eager both to recover lost ground in Andalusia and to prove its socialist credentials.

We can only hope that the process is successful. The Government of Gibraltar has made clear time and time again that it is willing to cooperate and work with the authorities in the area. It does so whilst giving us all comfort that our rights to our land shall never be compromised.

All we require now is a Spanish Government that cares for its people and is willing to acknowledge that you can have different views whilst, at the same time, working to bring prosperity to all in the area.

Quotes from the Chief Minister after the meeting:

“We have recorded our deep satisfaction with the progress that has been achieved by the committees established under the MoUs. They have….. created a climate of confidence between us.”
“We have talked about the many opportunities that Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar can seize from the challenges that Brexit presents to all of us.”

“We agreed that working together we can turn this into a rainbow of opportunities which can turn this region into an arc of prosperity for all of the people who live in and around it.

“There is a lot of work to do. There is not much time to do it.”

“I have committed……to provide all of our ability, capacity and enthusiasm in the deter-mination to finalise ambitious arrangements that can deliver the future area of shared pros-perity which we all want to see.”

“We want a win-win and together we can deliver it.”