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Picardo takes German MEP to task over Gibraltar comments

The Rock of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, is seen from the Spanish city of La Linea de la Concepcion, southern Spain November 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo yesterday wrote to German MEP Manfred Weber, the chairman of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, asking him to clarify comments he made at the weekend during a speech to the Partido Popular party conference in Madrid.

Mr Weber was quoted in the Spanish press as saying that, ‘the problem of Gibraltar is also a European problem and “we are with Spain.”

In his letter, the Chief Minister asked Mr Weber to confirm that these quotes were correctly attributed and, if so, to whom the word ‘we’ referred.

In firm terms, Mr Picardo said: “There is no ‘Gibraltar problem’.”

“The only problem seems to be that Spanish politicians do not accept that the people of Gibraltar have repeatedly chosen in free and fair referenda to remain British,” he went on.

“By saying the EPP ‘sides with Spain,’ Mr Weber seems to be saying that Gibraltarians should not be consulted over the transfer of sovereignty to Spain against their wishes.”

“This would be a complete denial of the principle of self-determination, an inalienable human right which we enjoy under the doctrine of the decolonisation of non-self-governing territories.”

Finally, the Chief Minister also pointed out that Gibraltarians are a people “who are overwhelmingly in support of Europe and of the European project.”

The letter, which was sent today and copied to the leaders of Germany’s CSU and CDU political parties, ends with Mr Picardo calling on Mr Weber to clarify exactly what he said in respect of Gibraltar during his recent visit to Spain.