Monday, 16 July 2012

Foundation proposes 'strategic turnaround for Gibraltar'

'A Strategy for Gibraltar'
CAMPO DE GIBRALTAR A Spanish foundation called Ciudadanía y Valores (FUNCIVA, Citizenship and Values) on Friday presented a report that proposes, to the Spanish government and political parties, a pact that would lead to "stability and a long-term" strategy towards Gibraltar. Included are such measures as the creation of a new forum and re-opening the Spanish Consulate on the Rock. This, says the report, would give the Campo de Gibraltar more "political and fiscal weight" that would allow it to compete with Gibraltar and make any future status changes there more attractive. The report also asks that more pressure be placed in international forums, to diminish the fiscal privileges now enjoyed by Gibraltar, and that it becomes integrated into Europe so that the frontier ceases to have any meaning.>>>

Presentation of the report was held at FUNCIVA's offices in Madrid, headed by the foundation's Managing Director, José María Román, and Professor Elviro Aranda, who headed the report's team.

According to the foundation, the first step is to create a congressional sub-committee to obtain consensus from all parties, given the ups and downs regarding talks and agreements -and their failure- over the last few years.

'Strategic turnaround'
This would be about making a "strategic turnaround towards positions that are more understanding with Gibraltarians and less belligerent with the British." To coordinate all this State activity it would be necessary to create an Office of Gibraltarian Affairs within the Ministry for the Presidency.

Another proposal would be to re-open the Spanish Consulate General in Gibraltar "in order to denounce from within" the problems faced by Spanish workers. Román admitted this would be a controversial move that could be interpreted as recognition of sovereign territory, but it would "serve to better defend the interests of Spain on the Rock."

New Forum and new Autonomous Community
FUNCIVA also proposes a New Forum that would consist of talks on sovereignty between Madrid and London on the one hand, and between Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar on the other to talk about local cooperation.

To add grist to the mill, the foundation also proposes the creation of a province or of an 'Autonomous Community of Gibraltar' similar to that of Ceuta or Melilla (Spanish territories on Moroccan soil, according to Morocco).

Relevant, too, says the report, is to attain greater socio-economic development of the area, particularly for those municipalities around the Bay of Algeciras, so that they could be more competiticve against Gibraltar.

An article in Panorama (pro-Government) says that the proposals want to make Gibraltar more like Spain, and complains that while Madrid and London discuss sovereignty, Gibraltar and the Campo would be out of that loop, relegating Gibraltar to the level of a municipality, "which has long been unacceptable to Gibraltar."

The article says that Gibraltar wants to go back to the Trilateral Forum, "which gives Gibraltar a voice and a veto at any talks."

In the end, it concludes, the report proposes measures that "would make it easier to integrate Gibraltar into Spain."

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