British PM Seeks Good Relations Between Gibraltar and Neighbors

By Editorial 12 September, 2013

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has sent a special National Day message to Gibraltar, in which he referred to the "thousands" of Spanish citizens who work on the island and to the family and friendship links that many of Gibraltar's residents have with people in Spain.

In recent weeks, Spanish authorities have subjected travelers to and from the island to delays, in retaliation for work on an artificial reef which Spain says is harmful to Spanish fishing. Spain has also threatened to institute a congestion tax on traffic to and from the island, after the EU ruled that a frontier tax would be illegal.

Cameron used the message to praise the islanders for their "enormous dignity" in the face of such pressures. He also reassured them that no negotiations over sovereignty would ever begin without their consent, and that he wouldn't want to "go down that route" anyway.

However, he added: "Let us all remember that Spain is our neighbor and thousands of Spanish people are welcomed by you to work in Gibraltar. I know many of you have close family and friends in Spain."

He explained that the UK Government wants day-to-day matters to be dealt with through dialogue, and not through "unacceptable border delays, or other actions or rhetoric," and that he has called on Spain to work with the UK and Gibraltar Governments to find solutions. He envisioned a "confident, flourishing, secure Gibraltar with good, constructive relationships with all its neighbors in the region."

Gibraltar's National Day is September 10, in commemoration of a sovereignty referendum held in 1967. The island has been a British possession since the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

Tags: Gibraltar | United Kingdom | Spain | Expats | Travel |


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