Spanish co-prince for Gibraltar?

by our Political correspondent
With Gibraltar always regarded as solid on its British credentials, the decision by the Chief Minister Peter Caruana to suggest an Andorra status for the Rock has caused a stir both locally and abroad.

Reports in English-language media say that Mr Caruana is urging 'joint rule with Spain', because Andorra is deemed to be something of a joint sovereignty situation between Spain and France.

In Spain it is seen as odd that Mr Caruana, who promoted the referendum in 2002 against joint sovereignty, should now be putting forward an Andorra-style solution.

An Andorra-style solution would dilute British sovereignty, which will not be understood by the very many British friends we have in the UK. When Gibraltar opposed joint sovereignty the pro-Gibraltar response in Britain was overwhelming.

Mr Caruana is now suggesting that an Andorra deal would have to be put to the Gibraltarians in a referendum - but that is what the then foreign secretary Jack Straw offered in his deal with Spain!

Mr Caruana discards the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 and says that what Gibraltar needs is a 'modern' solution - 'In the 21st century we cannot have a solution from the 18th century' he says - but what he is offering finds its roots in feudal times!

It is the case that Andorra was forced by the EU to change its constitution in 1993. That new Constitution retains the two co-princes, one appointed by France and the other by Spain, who are 'the highest representation' in Andorra. Presumably, Gibraltar would have a Spanish co-prince and a UK co-prince, under what Mr Caruana wants.

As is well known, any dilution of Gibraltar's sovereignty in favour of Spain causes concern, as Gibraltar wants to remain fully Gibraltarian and fully British, while giving any power to Spain gives rise to the saying 'Give Spain an inch and they will take a mile!'

29-11-10



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