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Gibraltar, a ‘fundamental objective’ of Spanish foreign policy

Spain’s hopes to recover the sovereignty of Gibraltar are “a fundamental objective” of Spanish foreign policy that Madrid will push at every opportunity in its international relations, the Spanish Government said this week as it set out its spending plans for the forthcoming financial year.

In a detailed budget statement published this week, Madrid said it would pursue this goal not just through multilateral international forums but in all bilateral contacts with countries around the globe.

“Driving forward the necessary actions to lay the foundations that permit the recovery of Spanish sovereignty over Gibraltar and the territorial integrity of the state is a fundamental objective of Spanish multilateral action,” the Spanish Government said in a document setting out the spending priorities for its foreign ministry.

The position is nothing new and echoes similar statements made annually at budget time.

But this year the spending plans also take into account the impact of Brexit on spending at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

“In the development of bilateral relations with partner countries, Spanish foreign policy maintains as one of its objectives achieving support for Spain’s right to recover the sovereignty of Gibraltar, within the doctrine established by the United Nations,” the document said.

“This active policy has three ends: in the first place, contribute to the final resolution of the dispute; secondly, avoid any international violation on this issue; and thirdly, create an international consensus that will help the defence of the Spanish position within a multilateral scope.”

“Independently of any actions within a multilateral context aimed at defending the recovery of Spanish territorial integrity, it is essential that Spanish bilateral contact with all countries in the international community is also geared too towards achieving this objective.”

In setting outs its goals on Gibraltar within the context of Brexit, the Spanish Government said it would “defend Spanish interests” during the negotiations for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Within this contest, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has budgeted for the preparation of 35 reports providing “information, analysis and proposals” in support of the Spanish goals. That compares to a budget for 30 reports in 2017.

Likewise the ministry has budgeted for seven trips in connection with Gibraltar and Brexit in 2018, according to the budget documents.

That compares to a budget for four trips in 2017, although Spanish officials engaged in Brexit talks overspent and conducted six Gibraltar-related trips that year.

The documents published this week also show that outside the context of Brexit, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Madrid has budgeted for the preparation of 46 reports on Gibraltar, compared to 45 in the two preceding years.

The ministry has also budgeted for six Gibraltar-related trips as part of its broader strategy on Gibraltar, the documents show.

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