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No deal on essential utilities, Gibraltar tells Mancomunidad

The Gibraltar Government said yesterday it has no plans to contract any essential utilities from Spain, scotching hopes in the Mancomunidad de Municipios that the Rock might buy water from the Campo de Gibraltar.

No 6 Convent Place was reacting to a report in Europa Sur that cited Mancomunidad chairman Luis Ángel Fernández saying Gibraltar was studying a contract for water and seage treatment.

The Mancomunidad, which brings together municipalities in the Campo de Gibraltar, owns a utilities company called Arcgisa which supplies towns in the area with water and sewage treatment services.

Arcgisa also handles rubbish and recycling for many towns in the Campo and has a contract to deal with Gibraltar’s solid waste, making a wider contract appealing to Campo municipalities.

Sr Fernández was quoted as having told a breakfast forum last week that the Mancomunidad had approached Gibraltar with a proposal to supply water and handle its sewage.

But a spokesman for No 6 Convent Place dismissed talk of any such deal.

“Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar has received no approach or proposal for the supply of water or for the treatment of waste water,” the spokesman said.

“We have no intention of reaching any agreements which make Gibraltar dependent on any Spanish public authority for any one of our essential services.”

Although there seems little prospect of a deal on water, representatives of the Mancomunidad have held meetings with the Gibraltar Government to discuss a number of areas of cooperation.

Last month it was revealed that the Mancomunidad would like to see the University of Gibraltar offer classes – for example in English – in the Campo area.

That was one of the proposals put forward by the Spanish delegation at a working group in Algeciras attended by Sr Fernandez and Gibraltar Government ministers’ Dr John Cortes and Steven Linares.

The meeting was described here as an informal follow-up to the recent conference on history held at the John Mackintosh Hall, a collaboration by the Gibraltar Government and Mancomunidad de Municipios for the first time in 16 years.

The issues meeting discussed a number of areas of possible cooperation including education, sport and tourism, including the possibility of working with the University of Gibraltar on future projects.

In sports there was a proposal that Gibraltar could form part of the Eurafrica Trail, a sporting event held annually in both Algeciras and Morocco. It was suggested the third day could be held in Gibraltar.

With the Gibraltar Government not having a stand at the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid in January, it was further suggested that the Mancomunidad approach private enterprises locally to see if they wished for their brochures to be displayed at the travel trade fair as part of the Mancomunidad stand.

“We currently have a more fluid dialogue with Gibraltar’s leaders,” Sr Fernández said this week.

“We have a discrete relationship with the aim of improving relations and keeping the door open to dialogue.”

Main photo Luis Angel Fernandez, chairman of the Mancomunidad de Municipios

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