Brussels must stand up for Gibraltar, Chamber says
The European Union should acknowledge Gibraltar's commitment to Europe and stand up for the Rock as the UK embarks on the process of Brexit, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce has said.
In a foreword published in the latest edition of the Chamber's magazine B2B, the business organisation acknowledged the role that EU membership and access to the single market has played in Gibraltar's economy.
The Chamber argues that Gibraltar, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the bloc, also reflects many of the guiding principles that underpinned the origins of the EU in the aftermath of World War II.
"And here is the cruel irony in which Gibraltar finds itself," the Chamber said.
"Gibraltar, albeit in a small way, demonstrates the very essence of what the European Union originally set out to achieve: it has fostered stability, tried to promote cross-border understanding, created thousands of jobs, not just for locals but for other EU nationals and generated sustainable economic growth."
"All this at the same time as following the costly legislative requirements demanded by our EU membership. Gibraltar should be hailed as a beacon of EU idealism."
The Chamber said Gibraltar's constitutional future was shackled to the UK and its vote to leave the EU.
But on the question of sovereignty, its message was clear.
"There is no question about where Gibraltar’s future sovereignty lies," the Chamber said.
"It is for the people of Gibraltar to decide. And theirs alone."
And it added: "Is the European Union going to punish Gibraltar and force those cross-frontier workers who are employed here to lose their jobs? Will the loss of EU membership mean that the Commission will compel some of the Rock’s businesses to close just because we are no longer members of the club?"
"The EU’s founding fathers would be understandably horrified if Brussels were to heap such a barbarity onto this tiny town which has always known what it means to be a committed European."