124. We were left in no doubt from our visit to Gibraltar,
and from Mr Caruana's evidence, that the people of Gibraltar will
not capitulate under pressure.
All such pressure does is to harden attitudes against Spain. We
are equally sure that neither this nor any other British Government
will allow the sovereignty of Gibraltar to pass to Spain unless
the people of Gibraltar want that outcome. One of the banners
carried at the demonstration of La Linea on 3 March read "Menos
restricciones y más soluciones" - "fewer restrictions,
Negativity, whether in Gibraltar, Madrid or London, serves no-one.
Constructive engagement, with give and take on both sides, and
a practical approach to cross-border co-operation is a solution
which the Committee believes can be embraced by people of goodwill
in Spain, the United Kingdom and Gibraltar. Support for such a
solution should be the British Government's principal response
to the current problems facing Gibraltar, and should form the
nucleus of its reply to Señor Matutes's proposals.
125. We conclude that there have been occasions
in the past when the British defence of Gibraltarian interests
has not been as robust as it should have been. Of all our overseas
territories, Gibraltar is in the unique position of having to
conform to almost all EU regulations and directives. This means
that the British Government have a special duty of care towards
Gibraltar in the European Union, and places extra responsibilities
upon United Kingdom Ministers to uphold the interests of Gibraltar.
We urge Her Majesty's Government both to recognise and to act
in full accordance with these responsibilities.
295 QQ 175,234. Back
El País, 4 March 1999. Back