In My Opinion by Tarik El-Yabani
I have read with some interest (and plenty of cynicism) the very articulate pieces your paper has published arguing for continued membership of the European Union. I just wanted to make the following points to those who claim that a “leave” vote is riskier than a “remain” vote:
The European Union has not prevented Spain from:
- Implementing inhuman frontier queues whenever it has wanted.
- Not implementing a sensible Green and Red channel at the frontier (so much for freedom of movement within the EU)
- Blocking aviation measures that could benefit Gibraltar (more recently our exclusion from Single Skies)
- Breaking the terms of the Cordoba Agreement.
- Inserting sections in EU legislation giving Spain legal authority in our territorial waters.
- Sending their paramilitary police to harass the RGP in our territorial waters.
- Using its institutions to harass Gibraltar generally.
Spain also has more influence in the EU than ever before, it has essentially allowed it to run riot with us. The EU does not protect us from Spain, this is a very common misconception. Spain will always use its influence in it against us. Gibraltar, therefore, is NOT “Stronger In”.
Let us also not forgot when the European Commission took us and the United Kingdom to court, arguing that “regional selectivity” should apply to Gibraltar’s tax status, meaning that our taxes should be equal to those of the UK. Our economy would have not been “Stronger In” had we lost that expensive court case. Therefore, we cannot trust the Commission to look after our interests in the future.
The other fear is that the border will close. Perhaps I am being naïve but personally, I think this is a non-starter. Whilst I will not pretend to have the ability to guarantee otherwise, the caretaker administration in Spain has always spoken about Gibraltar without impunity, so why has it failed to commit to this? In fact, in a very recent interview, Mr. Margallo said that his government had not even considered this option. Fine, he did say that it was “possible under law” to close the border but this is just stating the obvious. Again, no commitment. Why? Because the EU’s own treaties suggest that this wouldn’t be allowed:
“The Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union….The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on co-operation.”
– Article 50 and Article 8, Lisbon Treaty.
Make no mistake, if you vote ‘In’, you’re not voting for a “reformed Europe”; you’re voting for the status quo. You will be encouraging and enabling Juncker etc to continue taking the EU in the same anti-democratic, pro-integrationist and eternally bureaucratic direction that it is going. Do not delude yourself, this is an entity that is utterly unreformable!
I say we take a step forward together with Britain out of the EU and into the world. We are practically at Spain’s mercy if we stay. Give Spain no hope, vote leave on Thursday.