Gibraltar and the post-Brexit negotiation
A referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union was held on 23 June 2016 in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar. In the consultation, a majority of voters decided that the United Kingdom should withdraw from the EU. British membership in the European Union had been a controversial issue since the country joined the European Economic Community in 1973, with recurring debates about the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union (commonly alled Brexit) since then.
When the exit was approved, with 52% of the affirmative votes and 48% negative, the departure of the United Kingdom, and therefore of Gibraltar, was a de facto fact, although later negotiations would come to express de jure what that would be like. exit.
Gibraltar, being an integral part of the United Kingdom, is also affected by this departure, despite the fact that the referendum left a majority result in favor of remaining in the Union.
Since then, the status of Gibraltar has been negotiated on two sides, with one in reserve, the Union itself, which has left that negotiation in the hands of Spain, for many well-founded reasons, the claim of sovereignty, geographical location, and the good neighborly relationship with emotional, family and business ties on both sides of the fence.
These negotiations cannot be said to be easy; they were saved at the last minute a few years ago with the so-called Christmas Eve agreement, where the negotiation time was extended and important agreements were reached in many aspects.
Now it seems that in about five months the limit of this negotiation has been reached, with no way out in sight, even with the good disposition of both the British and Gibraltarian authorities, as well as the Spanish ones.
To understand a little about the idiosyncrasy and character of the British enclave, on January 25, the prestigious Gibraltar lawyer, Mr. Charles Gomes, gave a lecture on the campus of the University of Gibraltar, to a group of Master's students in international relations from the University of Cádiz, where he spoke in an entertaining and documented way about the historical relations between the military and civil authorities in Gibraltar, the very title of the conference already gave a clue as to where the matter would go. Gibraltar, Military fortress, or City or both In his documented speech, Mr. Gómez recalled that in the different Constitutions that Gibraltar has had and continues to have in the current one, there is what is called the “Royal Prerogative”, exactly in paragraph 8 of Annex 2, where grants reserve power to the Governor, section 34 “The Crown may make laws for the peace, order and good government of Gibraltar.
Which leads Mr. Gómez to declare that the United Kingdom maintains de facto and jure political and military control of what could happen in Gibraltar, and that it is not always for the benefit of the civilian population, as documented in many cases. throughout history, since the evacuation of the civilian population in 1941,and Gibraltar becomes an exclusively military fortress governed by military laws.
Nor do we have to go that far back in time, because as a result of the documents being discontinued by law after 25 years, we learned that in 1993,and following the promulgation of a law, by the GSLP government, which required citizens of the United Kingdom living in Gibraltar, to necessarily have a residence permit, the Governor was thinking of resorting to the Royal Prerogative.
The current situation, with a war in Ukraine, another in Israel, conflicts in the Red Sea, Korea and the South China Sea, it does not seem that the military authorities of the United Kingdom view favorably that the borders in Gibraltar will be put in the airport and in the port,as stated in the pre-agreement, so the negotiation seems arduous and difficult, and highlights what was stated by Mr. Gómez,the interests of the military in Gibraltar are not always in line with those of the citizens, although those of the former always prevail.
Mr. Gómez encourages the students to delve deeper into the study of the recently declassified documents, since 1950, both in Spain and in Gibraltar,since from that date there was already talk of the closure of the border, which finally happened in 1969, describing that closure,that period until the reopening in 1982, as catastrophic for businesses and the lives of civilians in general. Let's hope that common sense prevails in the remainder of the negotiation time, and an agreement on shared prosperity
can be reached, without interference from geopolitical issues that go beyond the local framework of coexistence.