Re: Issue No 2236 Letters page: Gibraltar Sovereignty
Mr Burrage alleged that ‘Gibraltar does belong to Spain despite the all-embracing treaty of Utrecht when it was ceded to Britain “forever” (April 14-20, 2017).
Your correspondent’s information gap, his poor historical knowledge and a lack of extensive research are underlined by the following passages of Article (Roman number) X of the Treaty of Utrecht:
“The Catholic King does hereby, for himself, his heirs and successors, yield to the Crown of Great Britain the full and entire property of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging, and he gives up the said property to be held and enjoyed absolutely with all manner of right forever, without any exception or impediments whatsoever. And in case it shall therefore after seem meet to the Crown of Great Britain to grant, sell or by any means to alienate therefrom the property of the said town of Gibraltar, it is hereby agreed and concluded that the preference of having the sale shall always be given to the Crown of Spain before any others”.
The Treaty of Utrecht, also called Peace of Utrecht ended hostilities between Britain and France in Europe and America. By its provisions, Louis XIV’s grandson Philip V of Spain was recognized as King of Spain and ceded – among other European territories – Gibraltar and the “Asiento”, a valuable exclusive slave trading contract, to the British. Therefore, the substantial evidence of an indefinite lawful British ownership of Gibraltar as a non-colonial territory derives from the Utrecht treaty’s stipulation ‘in case of a sale, or means to alienate Gibraltar’.
Recent interviews taken on Gibraltar’s Main Street and shown in Spanish TV revealed unanimity: “If Spain assumes sovereignty, quickly they’ll ruin the Rock and convert the adjacent Campo de Gibraltar in another Spanish poorhouse living on aid from the European Union…”
Last week Gibraltar was on the agenda of the European Parliament. Spanish TV showed the old MEP dog Ramón Jáuregi who was vigorously attacking Gibraltar for the umpteenth time as Europe’s only colony. (In the ‘Gibraltar Olive Press’ I read, that Jáuregi and the until recently Spanish EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Joaquín Almunia, as well as other MEPs, have always used the European institutions to harass Gibraltar.) A vicious onlooker watched Jáuregi’s polemics: Britain’s notorious buckler, Nigel Farage! At times he was laughing, then shaking his head or raising his arms, but looking like a jack-in-the box… sadly, Farage missed the patriotic opportunity to hand over to Jáuregi a copy of the Utrecht Treaty and stress to the MEPs one of Spain’s cultural peculiarities, i.e. the non – compliance of treaties coupled with a disregard for reciprocity. Furthermore, Farage should have reminded Ramoncito Jáuregi and the MEPs that, in 1940, General Franco outsmarted Hitler by denying the realization of the operation ‘Felix’ the assault on Gibraltar by defying the Waffen-SS division “Gross- Deutschland”, the Luftwaffe, the parachute regiment which had previously knocked out the Belgian fortress Eben-Emael and naval forces. Farage should have added that thanks to the declassification and publishing of secret documents from the KGB Moscow Archives (‘The Black Book on Communism’ Harvard University Press 1998) and Churchill’s secret archives (‘Churchill and the Secret Service’, David Stafford, Edinburgh University 1997, Abacus History), Churchill had arranged with the British treasury to deposit £2,5 million and authorized payments to Franco’s meeting with Hitler in the French/Spanish border town of Hendaye, the scheme was paid out and the encounter of the two rulers become a pantomime.
A clumsy Farage, by not serving his country properly before the European Parliament, was probably focusing on the next drinking party and dreaming of a good shot of booze…
The ruling Spanish Partido Popular is famous for their attempts to sway opinion against the rock and cast a cloud over the legitimacy of Gibraltar’s tax system. Spanish minister of Economy, Luis de Guindos, demanded to include Gibraltar on the European Union’s TAXE Committee’s blacklist of tax havens. Guindos’ remarks were untrue and erroneous because Gibraltar has tax information exchange agreements with over 27 countries and is rated by the OECD as “Largely compliant”, placing it in the same category as Germany and the UK for compliance with OECD standards on transparency and exchange of information. The pernicious De Guindos attack on Gibraltar backfired because he was photographed in 2015 with Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo in Berlin at the signing of the OECD Multilateral Convention Exchange of Information. Although de Guindos signed with Picardo at the same time, in the same room, and on the same table, the Spanish minister pretended Gibraltar is no signatory to the same conventions on information exchange and prefers to continue to berate the ‘notorious opacity’ of Gibraltar’s tax regime.