JUST when we thought Gibraltar was finally rid of its nemesis, Spain’s former Minister for Foreign Affairs Jose Manuel García-Margallo, up he pops up again claiming in a Spanish newspaper interview that after the Brexit referendum result he was due to have a private meeting with Fabian Picardo but that the Chief Minister pulled out in fear of the meeting being leaked to the media.
However, Mr Picardo confirmed that it was fact that Margallo had requested a meeting but that it had been rejected for his “entirely deluded” approach to Gibraltar and its people.
Mr Picardo said: “My response to the private request was exactly the same as my public position on any meeting with a Spanish minister or official, namely that I would only be prepared to meet to discuss non-sovereignty matters and that the meeting should not be secret. Given my reply, I did not receive a further response.”
In his recent interview, Margallo said Spain’s co-sovereignty proposal could unlock potential for massive economic development and a “prosperous economic future for the entire area”. He said that in his proposal Gibraltar would retain control over its affairs other than in key areas such as foreign relations, defence and immigration, while its citizens would have dual British and Spanish nationality.
The former Spanish Minister was adamant that he had also spoken “with Gibraltarians who have great influence with Picardo” but “they will never admit in public that they are ready to accept that thesis.”
Margallo added: “But until they are convinced – and I’m referring to Picardo – that we are going to be very firm in the negotiation and that we are going to be very committed to developing the area, something that will benefit them, they will not talk.”