The figures add up. Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, who was a speaker at Malaga University’s summer course in Marbella this week, told the audience of Spanish students that the economy of the Rock will continue to grow after Britain leaves the European Union, and Gibraltar will continue to prosper. He explained that Gibraltar is a small economy so it is very easy to reposition it, and compared it with a cork in water: if there is a storm a small cork will float, he said, while a large ship could find itself in difficulties.
Mr Picardo said that the repositioning of the Gibraltarian economy would be in the services sector, especially finance, insurance and online gaming. The principal clients of Gibraltar companies are in the UK, so leaving the EU will not mean a great change. He said that although the Gibraltarian people are committed Europeans who had voted overwhelmingly for Britain to remain in the EU, and were disappointed in the result of the referendum, they are having to adapt to the result.
The chief minister expressed his regret that Spain had opposed the idea of Gibraltar having a different relation with Europe than that of the UK. “With creativity that would have been possible,” he said, but Spain insisted that everything would have to involve joint sovereignty. With regard to workers, he stressed that Spanish people and those of any other European country would maintain their present rights in Gibraltar, no matter what position is adopted by the British government, but Europeans who go to work in Gibraltar after Brexit could find their rights affected by the double veto which Spain insisted on.