IN an extraordinarily frank response to a media question, not usually expected from a Spanish politician when discussing Gibraltar, Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alfonso Dastis admitted that it is “understandable” that Gibraltarians have rejected Spanish approaches on sovereignty.
Clearly chastened by his recent visit to La Linea and the Campo area were he heard at first hand of the difficulties facing the region regarding the level of unemployment and crime Sr Dastis said that he could understand why the people of Gibraltar would not want to be living under similar circumstances.
While he claimed to be sensitive to the needs of La Linea and to having been moved by the town’s mayor he still provided no financial support to the town that he accepted was under threat of dying.
While toeing the Spanish Government line that they would never drop its claim over Gibraltar and repeating the ongoing Spanish insistence that Gibraltar’s tax model did not adhere to international standards he conceded that there was no intention to close the frontier or in his own words ‘go to war’ over The Rock.
Sr Dastis adopted a more conciliatory tone than his predecessor when discussing the post Brexit position suggesting that he would be prepared to include The Rock in future discussions.
He said: “We hope we can adjust these things and cooperate with the UK and with Gibraltar to bring a better standard of life to La Linea and the Campo.”