Cameron orders firing blanks in Gibraltar


Could domestic turmoil sparked by the Barcenas case affect the Spanish government’s response to the Gibraltar challenge? Newspaper El Mundo last weekend published what it described as actual payroll cheques of Luis Barcenas, former finance chief at the People’s Party led today by Mariano Rajoy. If the date on them is right, it would prove that Barcenas, accused over several corruption and fraud practices, was still hired months after Rajoy won the general elections and became the country’s prime minister.

On August 1, Rajoy said before the Congress that Barcenas had been fired before the party was elected to govern Spain. Now, the prime minister faces a crisis of confidence that may weaken his political actions.

In the Gibraltar conflict, that would be a shame. The current mini-drama would be the perfect occasion to fix Spain’s uneasy cohabitation with a tax haven and a platform for illegal trafficking, which some Gibraltarians profit from but undermines Spanish interests.

Spain’s hand in the game looks clever, or at least less inept than the UK’s… “The Navy’s force led by HMS Illustrious and including two frigates will sail for the Mediterranean on Monday at the start of a four-month deployment,” The Daily Telegraph reported, “Three ships including the frigate HMS Westminster are due to stop later this month in the port amid a standoff with Madrid over punitive border checks for visitors to Gibraltar. The visit was announced two days after Gibraltar’s chief minister demanded that warships be sent to stop Spanish incursions into the Rock’s territorial waters.” That is a terrible mistake. What will prime minister David Cameron do next? Nothing, obviously.

On the contrary, the Spanish government is enforcing the law–a law that the British government has signed. Madrid, unlike London, still has the option of increasing its pressure without pointless nationalistic antics–Spain, let’s say this for the British people’s sake, does not intend to reconquer Gibraltar.

Gibraltar needs Spain more than Spain needs Gibraltar. Spain recognises the strategic value of Gibraltar for the UK in terms of defence, but London must implement the British and European laws in Gibraltar.

About the Author

Miguel Navascués
Miguel Navascués has worked as an economist at the Bank of Spain for 30 years, and focuses on international and monetary economics. He blogs in Spanish at: http://

3 Comments on "Cameron orders firing blanks in Gibraltar"

  1. Total poppycock. The law is that territories have a right to determine their own determination and Gibraltar do not want to be Spanish. The ships were heading to Gibraltar regardless of Spain bullying. You are just trying to stir the pot. You readily admit to detractions away from Rajoy corruption scandal. There are many more Spanish nationals making an income from contraband than other nations – what else do they have with the Spain economy in tatters. Gibraltar is happy to sign a transparency agreement with Spain but Spain is not transparent. Why not visit yourself and find out the truth? At the end of the day your interest is in greed more than in human beings.

    • Agree. I will show this piece to my spanish mates. They will be disgusted by it. This is all about a failing government that is lying. Rajoy last week was caught lying by the eu putting out a different story in spain.

      Ethics in journalism is important but maybe its time uk sponsored moroco’s bid and also basque and catalan independence.

  2. Luis you are deluded. The people of La Linea need Gibraltar. Spain relies heavily on UK for exports and tourist. The two biggest trading partners in the eu are uk and germany. Spain has breached eu law and in 70 years never engaged with the hague. WHY Luis?

    Total hypocracy by this corrupt lying Spanish government. The eu has already warned Spain. Ban kee moon in the un has made self determination clear. Spain is not a democracy. Many of my Spanish mates say it and hate what this government are doing.

    As for the ships. They have been long planned and approved and is a standard naval exercise.

    The problem I have is that you are a front piece for Rajoy and lack balanced journalism. You forget the 10000 Spaniard employed in gib. You forget they were subjected to unnecessary searches. You forget the family fired on whilst skiing which was caught on camera whilst the Spanish police denied it (Liars). You forget the illegal trawling in breach of eu law. You forget the 30km reefs laid with blocks by madrid but deny gibraltans this in their own area affected one spanish fisherman. You forget 100m of pension money is honoured by uk to spanish workers.

    You forget the morrocan islands and portuguese towns you illegally occupy.

    You are not a journalist but a complete and utter hypocrite!

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