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Diplomatic conflict between the UK and Spain

Gibraltar

What is diplomacy? What is its purpose?


Well, according to Oxford Students Dictionary, the definition of diplomacy is the (skill of) management of a countrys affairs by ambassadors and ministers living overseas. or (the skill of) dealing with people so that business is done smoothly. The subjects of diplomacy are those who are employed in diplomacy for her or his country. They are diplomats. A diplomat is a person who has been chosen by a state to conduct the art of diplomacy with another state or even with an international organization, which consists in trying to convince those governments to act in ways that suit home country interests. Mainly, diplomacy is the proper way to solve disagreements between countries or international organizations.

Gibraltar is a disputed British Overseas Territory, close to the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, which is the subject of a disputed irredentist claim by Spain. In 1704, Gibraltar was captured, during the War of the Spanish Succession that occurred in the 18th Century, between 1701 and 1714. Under Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht, the Kingdom of Castile formally ceded the territory in perpetuity to the British Crown. This was confirmed in later treaties signed in Paris and Seville. Almost three hundred years after this, in 2000, all the living present and past members of the Gibraltar Parliament signed a political declaration of unity that said, quote: In essence the declaration stated that the people of Gibraltar will never compromise, give up or trade their sovereignty or their right to self-determination; that Gibraltar wants good, neighborly, European relations with Spain; and that Gibraltar belongs to the people of Gibraltar and is neither Spains to claim or Britains to give away.

Later, in 2002, an agreement in principle in set sovereignty over Gibraltar between the governments of the UK and Spain was announced. This caused a robust campaign against these proposals by the Government of Gibraltar and individuals, resulting in their decisive rejection in a referendum. From that day on, the British Government refuses to discuss sovereignty without the consent without the consent of the Gibraltarians.

British Position

In 2008, Jim Murphy, Minister of State for Europe, in his evidence to the UK Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, stated: The UK Government will never 'never' is a seldom-used word in politics enter into an agreement on sovereignty without the agreement of the Government of Gibraltar and their people. In fact, we will never even enter into a process without that agreement. The word 'never' sends a substantial and clear commitment and has been used for a purpose. We have delivered that message with confidence to the peoples and the Governments of Gibraltar and Spain. It is a sign of the maturity of our relationship now that that is accepted as the UK's position. On the reverse side of the medal, the British Government has ruled out the independence of Gibraltar as well as its integration into the United Kingdom. Regarding the independence, it refers to the Treaty of Utrecht as, according to the British view, it would require Spanish consent: I will note that, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, Gibraltar's right of self determination is not constrained by the Treaty of Utrecht except in so far as Article X gives Spain the right of refusal should Britain ever renounce Sovereignty. Thus independence would only be an option with Spanish consent

Gibraltarian Position

The people of Gibraltar claimed that the Spanish arguments are groundless, pointing to the right of selfdetermination, or even emancipation of all peoples, guaranteed and secure by the United Nations, according to the UN Charter. On its 1st article, the Charter states that The Purposes of the United Nations are: To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace; To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and selfdetermination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace; To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common end. To the same section 2 of Resolution 1514 (XV), which is a Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples adopted by General Assembly of the 14 th of December 1960, states: All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Therefore, this wasnt the only resolution that the Gibraltar government claimed. If we take a look at resolution 2231 (XXI), as the Gibraltar government did, we will see that this resolution recalls and demands implementation of Resolution 1514 (XV), that guarantees Gibraltars right to self-determination and it is also the motive why the Spanish government claims for its territorial integrity, which wouldnt be affected by Gibraltars decolonization,

To the same section 2 of Resolution 1514 (XV), which is a Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples adopted by General Assembly of the 14th of December 1960, states: All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Therefore, this wasnt the only resolution that the Gibraltar government claimed. If we take a look at resolution 2231 (XXI), as the Gibraltar government did, we will see that this resolution recalls and demands implementation of Resolution 1514 (XV), that guarantees Gibraltars right to self-determination and it is also the motive why the Spanish government claims for its territorial integrity, which wouldnt be affected by Gibraltars decolonization,

For last, it is argued that there is not any principle in International Law or UN doctrine that can displace the inalienable right to selfdetermination. In this matter, in 2008, the UN 4th Committee rejected the claim that a dispute over sovereignty affected selfdetermination, stating it to be a basic human right. In March 2008, Peter Caruana, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar noted, during his speech to the UK Parliament Foreign Affairs committee, noted: Spain does not dispute that Gibraltar is properly, in law, British territory. Therefore, this is not disputed land. She has a political claim to the return of Gibraltar sovereignty, but she does not dispute the fact that in proper international law, she ceded sovereignty to Britain in perpetuity and therefore it is undisputed British sovereign territory.

Spanish Arguments
1. National pride This is the I wouldn't want a French colony in Plymouth variety of argument, Chris Grocott, a lecturer in economic history at the UKs Leicester University tells The Local. In fact, Gibraltar is the only colony left in Europe, something which particularly riles Spanish nationalists. For Spanish patriots of the 19th century, The Rock was a totemic issue, and a symbol of Spains decline, argues Gareth Stockey, an expert in modern Spain and Gibraltar at the Nottingham University in England. Under the rule of nationalist dictator Francisco Franco in power from 1936 to 1975 relations between Spain and Gibraltar were particularly fraught. Franco even went as far as selecting August 4th as day to commemorate the loss of Gibraltar: this was day the Gibraltar was taken by Anglo-Dutch forces in 1704. This pro-Spain sentiment continues to the present day. In March, Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said he had "never set foot on Gibraltar" and wouldn't do so until "a Spanish flag is flying on The Rock". The dispute over the status of Gibraltar even reaches into the royal sphere. In 2012, Spains Queen Sofia cancelled her visit to the UK to take part in Queen Elizabeths diamond jubilee celebrations because Gibraltar was making it hard for Spanish fishermen to work.

2. The British have breached the Treaty of Utrecht Under the Treaty of Utrecht, the Spanish Crown has first right of refusal if Britain gives up its claim on Gibraltar. This means Gibraltar would, theoretically, automatically come under Spanish rule if the British Crown renounced The Rock. But in the 1960s, when the United Nations was putting pressure on colonial powers to give up their foreign possessions, Britain sidestepped Spain's right of first refusal. They did this by granting the people of Gibraltar the right to choose their own future a decision which saw Gibraltarians voting in 1967 to stay with Britain. The British have also broken the terms of the Utrecht treaty by expanding the territory of The Rock both on land and sea. The treaty saw Spain's King Felipe V hand over the "entire property of the city and the castles of Gibraltar, along with its port, defences and fortifications" to the British. However, Spain has long complained that Gibraltar has expanded beyond its original treaty limits. While the Gibraltarians claim that fortifications existed along the current border, the status of the isthmus between Spain and the Rock is disputed. Spain says the building of the airport on this neck of land was illegal and that Britain took advantage of Spains civil war to forge ahead with its construction. At the same time, Gibraltar has extended seawards, claiming the waters around The Rock. However, the treaty of Utrecht made no mention of any such territorial waters.

3. Smugglers paradise Gibraltar has traditionally been considered a den of smugglers. Even the original treaty of Utrecht mentions this concern, with authors saying "abuses and frauds" are to be avoided. The smuggling problem remains to the present day and one that Stockey of Nottingham University calls "a drain on Spanish resources". Tobacco seizures on the border between Spain and Gibraltar have risen 40 percent in 2013, according to Spains El Pas newspaper. Other contraband that has passed through Gibraltar into Spain includes heroin and cocaine.

4. Tax haven Gibraltar is now on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's "white list" of jurisdictions that comply with global tax rules. But Spains foreign minister Garca Margallo recently told ABC newspaper that Madrid still intends to crack down on fiscal fraud by Gibraltarians. An investigation into some 6,700 Gibraltarians who live in Spain but use Gibraltar as their tax residence may be launched. More importantly, though, Spain wants to turn the screws on companies taking advantage of Gibraltars tax laws. Gibraltar offers a very favourable tax rate of 10 percent, compared to Spains 30 percent. Although the exact figure is unknown, the number of businesses registered on The Rock is thought to be more than 30,000, which is the number of people who live in the territory. Spain is now considering changing the law so that online gaming companies operating in Gibraltar come under Spain's taxation regime. "The Spanish government also argues that Gibraltars gaming industry is taking advantage of internet infrastructure put in place by Spain," Stockey tells The Local.

Intervention of the European Union


Both countries (Spain and UK) belong to the European Union The European Union plays an important role in the resolution of this diplomatic conflicts Therefore, the support of the European Union was request in two specific cases:
Dump of cement blocks in the Gibraltar Bay Additional border controls by Spain

Dump of Cement Blocks in the Gibraltar Bay


Brussels will determine whether the 70 cement blocks dumped in the Gibraltar bay are legal or not European Union spokesperson Olivier Bailly said that It is the European Commission that will address Spains complaint and decide if it is a possible violation of EU environmental legislation

Dump of Cement Blocks in the Gibraltar Bay (2)


According to Spain they were deliberately dumped to prevent local Spanish artisanal fishermen from catching Gibraltar argues they exist with the purpose of building a reef Bailly said that it has yet to be determined how the visiting mission of experts will be conformed

Gibraltar Bay

Border Controls Imposed by Spain


In response to the dump of cement blocks, Spanish authorities tightened routine controls on the land border between Spain and Gibraltar causing long delays and traffic jams at the crossing The European Commission ruled Friday that the additional controls imposed by Spain are legal

Border Controls Imposed by Spain (2)


The EU sent a team to the Gibraltar border in late September to investigate after Britain said it was considering unspecified legal action against Spain over the additional border checks The commission didn't blame Spain or Britain for the diplomatic spat, but said it would continue to monitor the situation and urged both to report back on progress on its recommendations within six months.

Border Controls by Spain

Diplomatic Relations between Spain and UK


Nowadays, Spain and the United Kingdom maintain very good relations, both being members of the European Union, NATO and OECD However there are a few problems that noticeably affect their relation (besides the Gibraltar case) such as the fishing dispute

Fishing Dispute
The United Kingdom and Spain have had several recent disputes over fishing rights, particularly with regards to the European Unions Common Fisheries Policy. UK sought to create a framework that discriminated between British and Spanish owned boats, regardless of flag flown, so that its waters wouldn't be over-fished by foreign-owned trawlers. However, when the Single European Act was implemented, in 1987, this became illegal under EU law.