BEPS declaration demonstrates Spain has not recognised Gibraltar, GSD says
A declaration by Spain reacting to Gibraltar's inclusion in an OECD framework on tax transparency demonstrates that the Spanish Government's position on Gibraltar remains unchanged, the GSD said yesterday.
The Opposition was reacting to news that Gibraltar had been included in the base erosion profit shifting [BEPS] framework after Spain lifted a veto following the signing of the tax treaty covering Gibraltar and Spain.
The Gibraltar Government said inclusion in the BEPS structure underlined Gibraltar's commitment to international standards on tax transparency and cooperation, and was a "tangible deliverable" stemming from the tax treaty with Spain.
But although Spain lifted its veto on Gibraltar inclusion in BEPS, it made a declaration setting out its longstanding position on sovereignty, decolonisation and its view that Gibraltar's authorities were "of a local nature".
For the GSD, this presented a "quite different" reality to the one being "flaunted" by the government.
"The Spanish BEPS declaration fully protects and asserts Spain's traditional claim to the sovereignty of Gibraltar, clearly limits Gibraltar's competence to local/internal matters and circumscribes the application of BEPS to Gibraltar in accordance with Article 10 of the Treaty of Utrecht," the GSD said.
"In sharp contrast, and in line with the spin that all are becoming accustomed to, the GSLP/Liberal Government has asserted that Gibraltar has joined the BEPS framework as a result of the tax treaty with Spain and because this recognised Gibraltar and its people."
"The Spanish declaration, however, smacks of old Spain by emphasising, several times, Spain's traditional position and it’s non-recognition of Gibraltar."
The GSD called on Chief Minister Fabian Picardo to "abandon his spin" and to stop suggesting that the tax treaty was a recognition of Gibraltar by Spain.
GSD Leader Keith Azopardi accused the Chief Minister of "trying to sell" a position that was "diametrically opposite" to the facts.
"The tax treaty was a bad agreement for Gibraltar," Mr Azopardi said.
"It taxes Gibraltarians returning home as if they lived in Spain and some of our companies as if they traded in Spain when they don’t."
"The only thing that Mr Picardo could say in its defence was to try to sell it as a recognition of Gibraltar by Spain."
"Now even that is shown to have been categorically wrong following the Spanish BEPS declaration to the OECD.”