Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum from Hon Peter Caruana QC, Chief Minister of Gibraltar

  1.  Mr Chairman, the Government and people of Gibraltar are grateful to the Committee for their continued interest and concern for Gibraltar. Your reports of June 1999, July 2000 and April 2001 were well received in Gibraltar, showing as they did a deep understanding for the true nature of the situations and issues that Gibraltar faces.

2.  In September this year I asked for a further opportunity to give evidence. Your invitation to do so, today, could not be more opportune in time. There is widespread (indeed practically universal) concern, anxiety and anger in Gibraltar about recent developments.

  3.  Mr Chairman, if I have time, I would like to update you on issues that you have been monitoring, eg the Eurovote, Single Skies, telephones and borders but I feel compelled, in current circumstances to begin with the recent so-called impetus given to Anglo/Spanish discussions over Gibraltar following the re-launch of the Brussels process in July this year. If I don't have time to cover everything, and if you agree, I will leave you a written submission on those other, important, issues. [1]

  4.  Most of you will be aware that the Government of Gibraltar, the overwhelming majority of the people and indeed all political parties in Gibraltar assert our right as a colonial people to self determination, that is the right to decide our own future. We will never give up this right, nor participate in any political process of dialogue the very structure, and pre-determined objective of which is incompatible with our right to freely decide our own future.

  5.  In this connection I think it is important to place before you a declaration of unity signed on 4 October 2001 by all present and past members of the House of Assembly and supported by practically the whole adult population at a mass public demonstration on the same day. The declaration reads as follows:

    "We, the undersigned, being all the elected Members of the House of Assembly of Gibraltar, declare and endorse the following propositions, which unite and reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of the people of Gibraltar.

    1.  The people of Gibraltar will never, ever, compromise or give up our inalienable right to self-determination, that is, the right to decide our future in our land.

    2.  The people of Gibraltar will never compromise or give up our sovereignty, not for good relations with anybody and not for economic benefits either.

    3.  The people of Gibraltar will not compromise our right to self-determination, still less sovereignty, in exchange for respect for rights which are ours anyway, and which others should be made to respect unconditionally

    And we

    (a)  CALL UPON Her Majesty's Government to honour, respect and uphold our EU rights by ensuring that we participate in all EC and EU measures in the same manner and to the same extent as all other citizens and territories of the European Union and we condemn Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom for capitulating under pressure to the suspension of Gibraltar from the EU Single Skies measures, and the Government of the Kingdom of Spain for demanding it.

    (b)  REAFFIRM that Gibraltar wants good, neighbourly, European relations with Spain based on reasonable dialogue and mutual respect. Spain is obliged to respect our EU and other rights.

    (c)  ASSERT that Gibraltar belongs to the people of Gibraltar and is neither Spain's to claim, nor Britain's to give away.

  6.  Peter Hain, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, appears to agree that we enjoy the right to self determination. In a written answer to a Parliamentary Question from Mr Crausby he said on 6 November 2001 "However, HMG's position on this issue has been consistent since the mid 1960s. We believe that Gibraltar's right to self determination is not constrained by the Treaty of Utrecht except insofar as Article X gives Spain the right of refusal, should Britain ever renounce sovereignty. Thus independence would only be an option with Spanish consent".

  7.  In other words, we have the right to self determination, to decide our own future, except to opt for independence.

  8.  Gibraltar does not seek independence, and therefore we take the view that our decolonisation, through a process of the modernisation of our constitutional relationship with the UK, remains an exclusively bilateral matter between UK and Gibraltar. I expect that the House of Assembly's Constitutional Select Committee, currently meeting to review this issue, will be submitting its report to the House of Assembly recommending specific constitutional modernisation proposals sometime in the New Year.

  9.  Even though Gibraltar does not seek independence, the so-called Spanish first option clause in Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht is the foundation upon which the whole Spanish case is built. Yet we firmly believe that that clause is completely ineffective and invalid today in modern international law. We have eminent international legal advice to the effect that Article X in general, and the "first refusal" clause in particular, are incapable in modern applicable international law to curtail or otherwise affect our right to self determination, which is enshrined in primary international law.

  10.  We have repeatedly called for this point to be taken to the International Court of Justice for adjudication. The UK and Spanish Governments refuse to do so. Why? Unfortunately, we have not yet found a way of getting before the International Court of Justice ourselves. I would ask you to put to HMG that it should do so. After all, if there is a risk attached to that course of action it is only we (and not UK) who are running it. Of course Spain would run the risk as well.

  11.  And therefore, it is against this backdrop of self determination asserted by us as the key to our future and accepted (bar independence) by HMG that this impetus in Anglo/Spanish negotiations over Gibraltar takes place, in the context, not of respect for our right to self determination, but in an attempt to make a comprehensive agreement that will resolve Spain's sovereignty claim and, allegedly, deliver to us a more stable, secure and prosperous future as agreed by UK and Spain.

  12.  The stated aim of the dialogue is for the UK and Spain to resolve all their differences over Gibraltar. As far as Spain is concerned that is, almost exclusively, sovereignty.

  13.  Both the UK and Spanish press have recently been awash with very similar speculation about the nature of such a deal. This cannot happen spontaneously. Someone is inspiring the press. Those reports speculate about joint sovereignty, shared responsibility by UK and Spain for Gibraltar within the EU, a change to our EU status, a change to our status within the Common Customs Union, the setting up of joint Anglo/Spanish Committees that would somehow give Spain a role in our affairs, an airport agreement, even possible Spanish involvement in the military base.

  14.  There is no prospect of the people of Gibraltar accepting a deal that involves the transfer or partial transfer of sovereignty or sovereign rights to Spain, nor one that gives Spain a role in our affairs or a presence in Gibraltar (other than a Consulate as any other foreign country is welcome to have).

  15.  At the same time Señor Pique continues to assert that progress on co-operation must be accompanied by progress (for Spain) on sovereignty. He continues to assert that the objective for Spain remains the full integration of Gibraltar into Spain, even if this takes time and that this objective is irrenounceable. Therefore, as if the terms of the speculated deal were not themselves bad enough, it would apparently not even produce an end to Spanish ambitions.

  16.  The British Government remains committed not to transfer sovereignty of Gibraltar, in whole or in part, contrary to the wishes of the people of Gibraltar. The people of Gibraltar will not agree to any such transfer. The Foreign Office well knows this, yet it continues to say that they will reach a comprehensive agreement by next summer. Indeed they have shortened the timescale from December 2002 to summer 2002, in the knowledge that the people of Gibraltar will not (in the promised referendum) agree to deals of the sort being speculated in the media and by the results of which referendum HMG has declared that it will be bound.

  17.  So what is the purpose of this impetus? Why the unseeming haste? What comes after the inevitable rejection? Has that also been agreed? Mr Hain says that if we do not accept whatever deal HMG strikes we will be "left behind"? Does this mean a loss of UK support for us in the face of Spain's infringement of our rights, or for our right to prosper economically and therefore socially? Does it mean that economic pressure will be applied, that economic doors will shut? Does it mean that our participation in the EU, in accordance with our Treaty rights will be further eroded and disregarded? We do not know.

  18.  Mr Straw says that the purpose is to secure a more stable, secure and prosperous future, a better future for the people of Gibraltar. We already enjoy a good, stable, secure and prosperous present. Spain says, falsely, that we do so illicitly? Does Mr Straw therefore mean that unless we agree to a deal involving the things being speculated in the media, our current stability, security and prosperity will not persist into our future? The people of Gibraltar interpret such statements as veiled threats.

  19.  This would not be offering the people of Gibraltar a fair, reasonable and democratic choice in exercise of our right to self determination, even as HMG understands it to exist. A serious political miscalculation is being made if it is thought that the people of Gibraltar will respond, either to threats and intimidation—or to inducements—by giving up our British sovereignty or our democratic birthright to freely decide our own future free of duress.

  20.  Our right to self determination means something more than the right to accept, or turn down deals hatched bilaterally between London and Madrid, and, in the words of Mr Hain "being left behind" if we turn it down. What sort of self-determination is that? What sort of free choice is that? Can we not opt to retain our exclusively British sovereignty and enjoy our democratic, human and European rights as a people to develop and prosper economically, socially and politically? If the answer is no, then our right to self-determination is being curtailed to a far greater extent than the bar to independence. If that were so our right to self determination would amount to no more than the need to barter our sovereignty for respect for our EU rights on the one hand, or to retain our British Sovereignty and "be left behind" (whatever that may mean) on the other. The people of Gibraltar reject both these choices as a betrayal of their birth-rights and their aspirations and political rights as a people.

  21.  This does not mean that we reject dialogue with Spain. I do not believe, as some do in Gibraltar, that dialogue with Spain under the Brussels Agreement is incompatible with asserting, upholding and pursuing our right to self determination. But this depends, crucially, on the terms of our participation in that dialogue being right.

  22.  Those of you who follow Gibraltar politics know that all the time that I have been involved in Gibraltar politics I have advocated participation in dialogue with Spain, even under the Brussels Process. I have testified before this Committee to that effect.

  23.  But I have similarly also said repeatedly that such dialogue has to be safe and compatible with our right to self determination. We cannot, reasonably, be expected to take part in dialogue which requires us to forfeit our own position, our right to self determination and our aspiration as a people, and to acknowledge and accept the very essence of the Spanish case over Gibraltar. What does this mean and why is it important to us?

  24.  It is necessary to understand the Spanish position over Gibraltar. Spain is obsessed with the fact that dialogue about Gibraltar should be strictly bilateral between the UK and Spain. Why? Because her position in the matter of Gibraltar is based on the fundamental premise that Gibraltar is Spanish territory, occupied by the UK, in which the people of Gibraltar have no political rights, least of all the right to have their wishes respected or to decide their own future through the exercise of self determination. Accordingly, Spain maintains Gibraltar must be decolonised by Britain negotiating the transfer of sovereignty back to Spain. The political manifestation of this position is the bilateralism of the dialogue between London and Madrid.

  25.  And so I am "invited" to take part in a process of dialogue between the UK and Spain in which it is said that the future of my country is being decided. And when I say, well, at least can I be sure that nothing will emerge from those discussions unless there is agreement between all the participants ie. that nothing will be agreed above the Gibraltar Government's head in political dialogue about the future of Gibraltar. I am told that that is not possible and that my electorate will have a vote in a referendum.

  26.  If, as Mr Hain believes to be the case, Gibraltar enjoys the right to self determination, how can it be that the Government of Gibraltar is expected to go as an invitee, merely to be consulted and to express its opinion, to talks about the future of my country? It is a democratic nonsense.

  27.  And so, I am expected to lend my support, through participation, in a process of dialogue from which will emerge a deal before next summer, over the terms of which I have no control and which will then be put to the people of my country, to accept or reject at the peril of "being left behind" (whatever that might mean). That is simply not a viable or safe political process of dialogue. Nor does such status at talks in any way respect or reflect our right to self determination (which Mr Hain agrees we have, barring independence, which we do not seek).

  28.  And if any of you think that this analysis is excessively melodramatic, let me quote Spanish Government sources during the last 14 days:

  18 November 2001: Unidentified sources in the Spanish Foreign Ministry quoted (extensively) in the daily "El Mundo" and reported in Reuters Business Briefing: "Caruana and his Government remain fixed in their positions, but they should realise that sooner or later, they will have to take part in this dialogue in which their future is to be decided. But Caruana must also clearly understand that he will not be able to decide the future status of Gibraltar, since this corresponds only to the two sovereign states who signed the Treaty of Utrecht. This Treaty, signed in 1713, is the only legal basis for Britain's presence in Gibraltar, and Spain relies on it to defend its interests, since the only change in status possible under that Treaty is the return of the colony to Spain.

  29.  Caruana appears not to realise that Spain and UK are the only architects who are going to build the house and that he will only be able to give an opinion about the colour of the walls." The source is identified as a senior Spanish Government spokesman.

  30.  Mr Chairman, this is the process of dialogue in which I am invited, as a guest, to participate. So where is our right to self determination in this process? Unless we genuinely have our own voice, we shall be completely genuflecting to this wholly anachronistic and undemocratic approach to the decision of our future. We will not do that.

  31.  Having our own voice, as a participant in such talks, means much more than saying "Caruana has his own voice in the UK delegation", meaning that he is free to speak, to contribute—or as the Spanish say, to express his opinions—but then to be ignored and have a deal struck over my head. That is not a reasonable or viable political process of dialogue, nor can any agreement emerge from such a process that has the remotest prospect of being accepted by the people of Gibraltar.

  32.  Mind you, according to Señor Pique, I am not free even to express my opinion on all issues affecting Gibraltar, but only on those that are "within my competence", ie not on the sovereignty issue which he regards as none of my business. At the joint press conference with Mr Straw after the Barcelona talks on 20 November Señor Pique (twice) said:

    "We wish to publicly reiterate the convenience, wish and invitation to Mr Caruana, as Chief Minister of Gibraltar to incorporate himself in the process. His separate voice within the British delegation is guaranteed for all those issues which are within his competence."

    "We have offered him a separate voice within the British delegation so that he can express his opinion on any matter within his competence."

  33.  I have even heard reported in the press that it is open to me to participate on the basis of the "two flags, three voices" model, which I myself advocate and would accept. But when, in discussions with the FCO, I try to secure any practical meaning for that phrase or model it is denied to me. They appear to think that it is just a phrase. It is a sham. I am offered the same terms as prevailed in the early 1980s when there was no question of talks being on the basis of two flags three voices.

  34.  And so, Mr Chairman, our participation in dialogue is only compatible with our right to self determination if it is open agenda (not pre-determined to transfer sovereignty, in whole or in part, now or later to Spain) and if we are really there with our own effective voice. That means that agreements need to be agreements between the three voices present—that is the UK, Spanish and Gibraltar Governments. What else could Mr Hain have meant when he called for my "full participation" in the process. Surely he could not think that "full participation" means to be consulted, express your opinion and wait to see what others (UK and Spain) decide above your head. What sort of political process of dialogue is that?

  35.  Two flags three voices does not mean that the voices only express views, but the flags reach the agreements.

  36.  That is the process of dialogue in which I have declined to participate. But I would be delighted to participate "fully" with my own real, separate voice (albeit within a single, composite British delegation) in a political dialogue in which agreements are agreements to which the three voices and the two flags agree. That is what "two flags three voices" mean.

  37.  This has been my political position for many years. I do not agree that hard work has been done to secure my presence. Indeed, I believe that very little realistic effort has been made to secure my participation in any political reasonable or viable manner.

  38.  The terms offered to the Gibraltar Government go nowhere near accommodating the circumstances for participation to which HMG knows I am publicly committed, and which are necessary for this dialogue to be safe and dignified for Gibraltar, as I explained earlier. Indeed the terms offered to me this year are much worse than the terms offered in 1996 and 1997 and which we rejected.

  39.  Yet, in the knowledge that this is so, HMG is publicly spinning the view that "it doesn't understand why I am boycotting the talks". The aim, presumably, is to convey to the general public and Parliament in Britain the feeling that Gibraltar is the unreasonable party, when the reality is that the Foreign Office has, once again, caved in to Spanish demands—in this case Spain's undemocratic obsession with the dialogue having to be and be seen to be exclusively bilateral between London and Madrid, in which I am invited to express my views, when relevant.

  40.  Mr Chairman, I have invested a large amount of local political capital in my 10 year old policy of advocating dialogue with Spain. I will continue to do so on terms that are safe for Gibraltar and not implicitly a betrayal of our right to self-determination. I will not be discouraged by simplistic distortions of our position. Attempts can continue to be made to ridicule and discredit the Gibraltar Government's position through misrepresentation of it. But the Gibraltar Government's position enjoys the overwhelming support of the people of Gibraltar and to discredit it will do nothing to increase Gibraltarian confidence in the process.

  41.  Mr Chairman, in your Report of June 1999 you recommended that dialogue should put the issue of sovereignty on hold, and explore areas of co-operation. That is not the process of dialogue that is apparently under way. It is a process which aims, by next summer, to resolve the dispute. That must necessarily involve disposing of Spain's sovereignty claim, which she still says is irrenouncable and has to be progressed in parallel to co-operation.

  42.  We do not fear dialogue with Spain. Indeed I openly seek it. No-one in this House should think that we duck reasonable dialogue with Spain. On the contrary, only two weeks ago, whilst in Madrid for a TV interview, I had a lengthy dinner meeting with the most senior official in the Spanish Foreign Ministry and their two most senior officials involved on the Gibraltar issue. And so, we do not fear, but we seek, open agenda dialogue on reasonable terms that do not bow to Spain's view of life at the expense of ours. The process and structure of dialogue has to be one that works for all the participants.

  43.  In the meantime it does nothing to improve Gibraltarian confidence in the process for Mr Hain to appear on TV, as he did on Sunday, saying that he cannot understand why I won't participate in what he called "only dialogue, just talks". On Sky News on Sunday Peter Hain disingenuously asked, "Why won't Peter (me) come to talks, what's wrong with having a dialogue, why doesn't he come and talk with us, all we're asking is to talk together". The reality is that he has told Parliament and Gibraltar that a comprehensive deal will be done by next summer whether we're there or not and if we don't accept it we'll be "left behind". Those aren't just "exploratory talks". Mr Chairman, your letter inviting me to give evidence here today invites me to give evidence "on the latest position with respect to negotiations over the future of Gibraltar". I believe that the nature, quality and security of our participation as a Government in such dialogue has to reflect that fact.

  44.  The people of Gibraltar want Gibraltar to remain British. We do not want to be part of Spain or of joint Spanish sovereignty. We do not want Spain to have a role in our affairs. We trust that we can continue to rely on your support in that simple, democratic aspiration. For our part, I assure you of the Gibraltar Government's continuing willingness and readiness to take part in any properly structured process of dialogue in which we are given a proper status, that reflects the fact that we are the democratically elected Government of a country comprising 30,000 British, European Community citizens who are said by HMG to enjoy the right to self determination (bar independence). That means more than the right to say no in a referendum to deals hatched by others.

The Eurovote

  45.  No proposals have yet been put to the Gibraltar Government as to the manner and timing of the enfranchisement. Meetings between the two Governments are being arranged at which, hopefully, this will be done. It is, needless to say, important for us to participate in the next Euro-elections, on the basis of the enfranchisement of both the people and the territory of Gibraltar, and within Britain's (as opposed to any other country's) electoral process. We would very much welcome the Committee's continued interest and support in ensuring that acceptable details and arrangements are in place in good time to enable us to participate in the next elections. In answer to a Parliamentary Question on 30 October this year, FCO, Minister of State, Mr Peter Hain said that it is important that the Court judgement giving the Gibraltarians the right to vote in the next European elections is honoured and implemented, and that HMG intends to do so. "with Spain's agreement as well". It is not clear what this last reference means. Spain's agreement would only be required, in common with all other EU Member States, to a formal amendment to the EC Voting Treaty. It is not required for unilateral legislative action on the UK's part. It is not clear whether this is one of the issues that is being mooted as part of the comprehensive agreement that the FCO is seeking to strike with Spain before next summer. However, it is important that delivery of compliance with our adjudicated human rights should not be presented as an act of political generosity by Spain towards Gibraltar or as part of some deal.

Single Skies

  46.  In 1987, the then British Government agreed to the suspension of Gibraltar from a package of EU open skies directives (now regulations) unless and until the Gibraltar Government chose to implement the arrangements in the 1987 Airport Agreement. The EU measures in question (from which we were so suspended under that Agreement) were limited to measures liberalising the provision of air services between Member States, so called "access" measures.

  47.  In November 1999 the Gibraltar Government wrote to the FCO pointing out (in the context of the EC Community's proposed accession to the Eurocontrol International Convention relating to co-operation for the Safety of Air Navigation) that it was important that Spain not be allowed to succeed in her likely attempts to make sovereignty gains over Gibraltar's airspace or to exclude or suspend Gibraltar from any measures or arrangements covered by accession to the Eurocontrol Convention.

  48.  In December 1999 the FCO wrote to the Government of Gibraltar stating that: "With regard to negotiations on the EC's accession to Eurocontrol, the UK made clear at the Working Group on 18 November that we would not accept a clause suspending the application of the EC's accession to Gibraltar".

  49.  Close contact was maintained by GOG with the FCO thereafter to ensure that Gibraltar was not again sacrificed on this issue.

  50.  In September 2001 the UK Government agreed to Gibraltar's suspension from the EC Single Skies package of measures and also from a proposed EU Regulation on Aviation Security.

  51.  The UK Government's policy had been said to be that it would not accept Gibraltar's systematic exclusion or suspension from EC Aviation measures. Having agreed to suspend us from a Regulation providing for Aviation Security it is difficult to imagine what aviation measure HMG would not now systematically agree to exclude us from. These measure are not covered by the infamous 1987 Agreement because they are not "access" measures—they relate to things that must happen in Gibraltar airport.

  52.  The Minister of State, Mr Hain appears to believe that there is a great distinction to be drawn between exclusion and suspension. We do not see the practical difference when the requirements for lifting that suspension are known to be unacceptable to the people of Gibraltar, ie implementation of the unworkable and obsolete 1987 Airport Agreement. He also asserts that this suspension is unimportant in practice because Gibraltar can adopt the same security regulations, in parallel with the EU, but as a matter of voluntary domestic legislation, ie we can adopt the same safety regime. With the greatest respect to him this misses the essential political issues and principles at stake.

  53.  We are committed to mounting whatever legal challenge to these further suspensions we may be advised is open to us.


  54.  Hon members will recall that there are three distinct aspects to the telephone issue, all of which result from Spain's refusal to recognise our "350" direct dial code. Those aspects are (1) insufficiency of Gibraltar telephone numbers accessible from Spain; (2) Spain's refusal to allow Spanish mobile phone operators to sign agreements that will allow our mobile phones to work in Spain, as they do all over Europe; and (3) the failure of international calls to reach Gibraltar if dialled "350" and channelled via Spain.

  55.  Gibraltar's two telephone companies have five year old complaints pending at the European Commission. No action has been taken to address them in accordance with the legal rights and obligations of the parties under EU law.

  56.  Instead, and contrary to the Gibraltar Government's repeated requests, the matter now emerges in the bilateral Anglo-Spanish political talks.

  57.  Within that political process of dialogue, Spain has offered, effectively, an extra 50,000 useable numbers, which according to Señor Pique, is Spain's assessment of Gibraltar's need. In offering these numbers Señor Pique spoke of not allowing Gibraltar sufficient numbers to engage in what he calls "disloyal competition with Spain". He openly declares that numbers must be rationed to prevent Gibraltar from competing with Spain's own telephone industry. He also says that they should not be used to develop our allegedly opaque finance centre.

  58.  And finally, Señor Pique has made clear that he offers these numbers in the context of a political process in which he says that there must be parallel progress for Spain on its sovereignty claim.

  59.  In a nutshell the position, in which we have been placed is this:—

    1.  Gibraltar's legal rights in this matter appear to be unenforceable and unjustifiable.

    2.  Instead, Spain rations us numbers in accordance with her assessments of our needs and her desire to protect herself from competition and to constrain our economic development—and this in a political process in which she wants to be paid with sovereignty.

    3.  The UK press now presents this situation as "generosity" on Spain's part. In other words the results of a flagrant and persistent breach of Gibraltar's EU rights, coupled with gross dereliction of their protection, ends up (five years later) as political leverage against us in negotiating about our sovereignty and our future.

    4.  No offer has been made in respect of the "350" recognition, mobile phones or lost calls issues.

  60.  And all of this despite frequent, repeated and advance warning by us to the FCO, coupled with pleas in advance, that we should not be placed in this very position.


  61.  There has been no positive change in the border regime since last I provided evidence to the Committee. Delays of around one hour are still the norm, with greater delays still frequent, caused by a manipulation of procedures at the border, and lack of resources, to cause the desired degree of delay. The only change is negative. When queuing to enter Gibraltar from Spain, vehicles are now required to weave their way through a serpentine, maze or labyrinth like track more suitable to a children's fairground or amusement park. It is simply humiliating.

State Aids

  62.  The Committee may be aware that the EC Commission has initiated a formal investigation under State Aid Rules against those aspects of our tax laws upon which our finance centre is based. The finance centre is an essential part of our economy. What is more, the Commission chose the more aggressive of the two procedures open to it, ie the unnotified illegal aid procedure, which requires the immediate suspension of the legislation even before the Commission's investigation takes place. The alternative (existing aid) procedure would have enabled us to maintain the status quo and thus avoid disruption pending the outcome of the Commission's enquiry as to whether the legislation does or not breach State Aid Rules.

  63.  The Gibraltar Government has brought a legal action against the EU Commission about its choice by procedure, and sought HMG's intervention in the court action in our support. We regret that HMG declined, despite the strength of the legal advice available to do so.

  64.  Members of the Committee may be as surprised as we were, that the very same EC Commission Directorate General (Mr Monti's Competition Directorate) that has sat inactive on its hands in the case of Gibraltar's telecom complaints, has so quickly and aggressively sprung into action against us on State Aids.

  65.  On 1 October 2001 I wrote to Mr Romano Prodi, President of the EC Commission, making, amongst others, this very point. I have not yet received a reply. Hearing an FCO Minister discredit the simple aspiration to have our EU rights and Spain's EU obligations enforced, as "a blunderbuss approach" and equivalent to proposing "a fortress Gibraltar" will do little to encourage the EC Commission to take action.

Hon Peter Caruana QC

Government of Gibraltar

28 November 2001

1   See Evidence, pp 1-7. Back

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