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Spanish policy on Gib is ‘erratic’, Madrid’s man in the Campo says


by María Jesús Corrales Martín

“Spain has no coherent political policy on Gibraltar except for its sovereignty claim on the Rock”, a conference in La Línea was told this week.

Agustín Nuñez, the outgoing representative of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Campo de Gibraltar, was speaking at the Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo in La Línea.

He said Spain should continue its historical claim on Gibraltar in line with UN resolutions but said Spanish policy was “erratic”.

“When the right wing parties have been in power, they have been ‘heavy handed’ with their policies,” Mr Nuñez said.

“And when the left wing parties have been in Government, we have seen more liberal policies.”

“But both sides have been conditioned by their policies on Gibraltar.”

“Any Chief Minister in Gibraltar who will try to make concessions will face opposition in the local Parliament,” Mr Nuñez added.

Mr Nuñez is convinced Brexit will eventually take place and the UK will leave the EU, but he hopes that Britain will be able to reach an agreement, even under the circumstances of a “no-deal” Brexit.

He said the signed memorandums are already in place but have yet to be implemented pending the outcome of developments in the UK, although he welcomed the new law on tobacco prices on the Rock.

“Spain does not intend to make Gibraltarians’ lives difficult or to create difficulties at the frontier,” Mr Nuñez said.

When transporting goods, however, he said the impact of Brexit remained to be seen given that Gibraltar will be outside of the European Union.

He said the ultimate goal is to “reduce damage” depending on what scenario eventually comes about.

Speaking about a “no deal” Brexit, Mr Nuñez said the UK and Spain have not discussed special ID cards such as those Spain had in place with France before joining the EEC.

“We will have to run passport controls all day,” he added, although he suggested Spain could introduce “worker passes” for cross-border commuters.

La Línea’s situation is “complicated”, Mr Nuñez said, and he backed the Mayor Juan Franco’s request for “different treatment”, adding: “This is because La Línea feels like it receives the worst part of the deal, and I think this is true.”

Mr Nuñez said Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar have a “symbiotic” relationship and called on Spain’s new government to do all it can to balance the socio-economic differences between both sides of the frontier.

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