Gibraltar: British or Spanish? (Routledge Advances in European Politics)
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The year 2004 marks three hundred years since Britain took possession of Gibraltar, a rocky promontory at the foot of the Iberian Peninsula sometimes referred to as 'The Rock'. Gibraltar: British or Spanish? provides a detailed study of the attempts that have been made by Spain, especially since 1984 when Britain and Spain signed an agreement to discuss the future of Gibraltar, to regain the sovereignty of 'The Rock', despite the wishes of the Gibraltarians.
surrender and its aftermath. However, what was to distinguish Spanish coverage of the South Atlantic crisis from the way in which it was reported in the British press was the fact that in Spain throughout the months of April and May 1982 the connection was repeatedly made between Argentina’s dispute with Britain over the Falklands/Malvinas and Spain’s dispute with Britain over Gibraltar. In Britain, for the most part, the Gibraltar issue could not have been further from the minds of either
involve Spain bypassing GIBMED (and the air command GIBAIR) and coordinating directly with AFSOUTH in Naples. Spain’s concern, of course, was to ensure that any agreement that might be reached should not cast any doubts upon its claim for sovereignty over the Rock. Spanish reaction to General Rogers’ visit probably had something to do with the cancellation of the visit by Admiral Cesare Pellini, Chief of NATO naval forces in Southern Europe, which had been scheduled for 20 October. The official
visits by first ladies El País warned the Spanish Government that their attitude would only reinforce the views of Gibraltarians who were mistrustful of Spain’s declared good intentions towards them. Clearly Spanish politicians had not fully worked out how to handle the new Chief Minister’s approach to relations with Spain, and they fell back on old instincts from pre-democracy days. Hassan was ‘a devil they knew’; by contrast Joe Bossano was treated rather like a terrorist who had to be
‘possible and desirable’ by the Foreign Affairs Ministry (El País, 2 January 1989). Second, it was felt that following the visits of Prime Minister Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth there was a new climate which would lead to the British Government putting pressure on Gibraltar regarding joint use of the airport.1 Third from the Spanish Foreign Ministry was to present a ‘softer image’; an example was the Spanish Government’s willingness not to create difficulties over land reclamation developments in
Government’s position that Spain would not accept the inclusion of Gibraltar as an external frontier of the Community unless the application of the Convention were subject to a bilateral agreement, involving joint police and customs control at the port and airport. Spain, in other words, hoped to secure with Britain the same kind of accord on the external frontier issue as it had on the airport question in December 1987. On this occasion, however, the British Government was being less compliant,