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Junta de Andalucía's head calls for 'best possible agreement' on Gibraltar
Campo de Gibraltar

Junta de Andalucía's head calls for 'best possible agreement' on Gibraltar

Juanma Moreno presided over the meeting with the mayors of Campo de Gibraltar and the chair of the association of municipalities before the key meeting about the Rock with Spain's Foreign Affairs Minister Albares

La Voz

Cadiz

Sunday, 12 May 2024, 07:38

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The president of Andalucía's regional government, Juanma Moreno, made his demands clear following last Thursday's meeting with mayors of the Campo de Gibraltar area at which those attending put forward their "shared stance" on Gibraltar. Their common demand is that the agreement that is expected to be reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom regarding the situation of Gibraltar after Brexit should be "the best possible", reflecting the "clear uniqueness" of this part of Cadiz province.

Moreno expressed his desire to reach "a good agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom" and justified his meeting with the affected mayors last Thursday "to show willing by making a positive contribution" to this potential agreement that "seems to be at a key stage", and during which, he warned, "the interests of the Campo de Gibraltar and Andalucía will have to be taken into account."

After emphasising that "no one is disputing or questioning" that "the domain for a bilateral negotiation between nation states belongs to the national government", Moreno called for those responsible for the talks to "bear in mind the opinion of a place where 300,000 Andalusians live", in reference to the Campo de Gibraltar area. He said that, on Monday 13 May, the Junta and the mayors from the area under discussion will have the opportunity to convey to the Minister of Foreign Affairs "the positions of a region whose border situation with the Rock of Gibraltar affords it a clear singularity."

Similarly, the president wanted to make it clear that "the [regional] government of Andalucía will act, as always, with maximum institutional loyalty, but at the same time making its voice heard in reference to the demands" that he believes are "sensible, fair" and "made by the mayors". He took the opportunity to thank them publicly for the "enormous effort" they make at the helm of the governing bodies for their municipalities that have "an element of distortion to their economic, social and fiscal worlds" as a result of the existence of "a colony in Andalusian territory" that is Gibraltar.

Let "the voice of Andalucía" be heard

Moreno continued: "the information from, and the voice of, Andalucía in the negotiations over the content of the agreement is of the utmost importance", as well as underlining that there is a "wide range of duties" expected of the Junta that are "potentially affected" by this agreement, such as those related to employment, health, environmental issues and waste.

Along a similar line of argument, he also underlined that the Statute of Autonomy of Andalucía itself "includes the right of the Andalusian government to participate and make itself heard in those international treaties and agreements in which matters of singular relevance to our autonomous community are addressed."

In this respect, Moreno regards the possible agreement on Gibraltar as being "of transcendental importance for Andalucía, but also for the whole Campo de Gibraltar", and "as an autonomous administration bordering the Rock", Andalucía is being "affected by aspects under negotiation".

The president argued that "we are facing a unique opportunity to lay the foundations of a new relationship" that "has to rebalance the territories". In this respect he drew attention to the "difference in income" that exists between the area surrounding Gibraltar and the British colony itself, which is "practically ten to one" in terms of "wealth and prosperity" in favour of Gibraltar.

After arguing that the negotiations concerning the Rock should also serve to "eradicate the great divide that has opened up between these areas", Moreno insisted that the potential agreement should "take Andalucía into account", its voice, and reflect "in particular the interests of the Campo de Gibraltar area", whose municipalities and residents are "the real protagonists in this situation".

"No easy deal"

"More than an agreement, what we want is the best possible agreement." The Junta president further warned that "agreements with the UK are very complex", and that "the negotiating capacity of the Gibraltarians is sophisticated", which is why "there is no easy agreement on Gibraltar." Moreno then publicly wished Spain's foreign minister "every success in these negotiations".

He welcomed the fact that the Spanish government is now "trying to come to some agreement", and that it has the "will and determination" to secure an agreement with the UK. Neither did he want it overlooked that there is "enormous potential and economic attraction" within the Campo de Gibraltar area that is "a gateway to Africa and could also be a gateway to America."

Staying with that line of thought, Moreno highlighted that this particular area "has problems of security, employment and infrastructure that concern us all." His point was that the Junta "also has responsibilities and obligations" that it will "fulfil" in this part of Cadiz province while the agreement being pursued with the United Kingdom "could mean" either "bankruptcy" or a "boost in opportunities for growth."

Moreno indicated that, at Monday's meeting with Albares, he will also have "the opportunity to put forth to central government"... "priorities and historical demands such as the need for a solid investment plan for the territory in question" which could "count on European aid and help with economic improvements for the Campo de Gibraltar area, boosting its competitive capacity." Monday's meeting will also be "an opportunity to discuss the adoption of measures to avoid the fundamental disparity in competitiveness, the most alarming element being Gibraltar's special tax regime."

The president of the Junta declared himself "convinced" that, "if in these negotiations we manage not only to have the willingness of the Spanish government to defend the rights of its citizens", but also "to include the feelings of the mayors of Campo de Gibraltar and that of the regional government so we are helping with the negotiations, providing a more interesting perspective as to what could be offered... so that things go well."

"In short, we want a problem that we have had for too many years to be solved." Moreno concluded with: "the situation with Gibraltar as it stands post-Brexit is unsustainable", so "decisions have to be taken, and the [regional] government of Andalucía will act, as always, with the utmost institutional loyalty, but at the same time will make itself heard in reference to the demands that we believe are sensible, that are fair and that are those made by the mayors."

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