Flag bearer and Triathlete Chris Walker of Gibraltar leads his team during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park
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Morning Call: The best from Gibraltar

A selection of the best articles about politics, business and life on the Rock from the last seven days.

Latest updates on Team Gibraltar at the Commonwealth Games:

  • Gibraltar’s Commonwealth Games Squad will see 27 Athletes across 9 sporting events compete at the 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

 

  • Charles Flower, President of the Commonwealth Games Association of Gibraltar, received a Gold pin and Order of Merit Award from the Commonwealth Games Federation. Flower has been awarded this honour in recognition of over 60 years’ service to sport in Gibraltar. He was Gibraltar’s first ever athlete in the Commonwealth Games, competing in Cardiff in 1958 and was one of only two recipients of the award.

 

  • Gibraltar’s Anthony Brindle, competing in Squash, won his 1st round match 3 –0, before losing in the last 32.

 

  • Young swimmer Jordan Gonzalez, competing in his first games, broke a national record as he finished the 100m backstroke in 1.04.50.

 

Elsewhere in Gibraltar…

 

  1. The World Trade Center brand has finally landed in Gibraltar

Olive Press reports: “World Trade Center Gibraltar has officially begun construction. The iconic global brand has finally arrived with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo drilling the first foundations this week.

  1. Spain congratulates Hammond and calls for dialogue on “Gibraltar and surrounding area”

Merco Press reports: “Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo congratulated Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on his recent appointment and insisted that Spain’s action in Gibraltar is simply to seek compliance with legal obligations, but nevertheless called for dialogue. The encounter took place in the margins of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting this week that was focused on the Ukraine and the Middle East.”

  1. Former Real Madrid coach criticises Spanish government

Gibraltar Chronicle reports: “A former coach of Real Madrid has criticised the political motivation behind the Spanish Football Association and Government’s decision to block Gibraltar’s participation in UEFA. Manuel Ruiz Pérez, who worked under Bernhard Schuster during his time at Real Madrid, said that nothing good come out of mixing politics with football.”

 

Photo: Getty
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Gibraltar and Europe: caught in the slipstream?

The British papers are full of who has the lead in the European in or out campaigns – Guy Clapperton considers the fallout for the smaller territories

Let’s start by acknowledging that there is no clear pattern emerging in the Europe debate, as long as we understand “Europe debate” to mean whether the UK should stay in or leave the European Union. This week alone we’ve seen Boris Johnson “warning Obama off” (as the BBC put it) getting involved in the debated, the same London Mayor and MP having a radio spat with Chuka Umunna involving telling each other to man up and various insults traded as either side accuses the other of scaremongering or making it up as they go along.

Divining who’s going to win is more difficult. The Daily Telegraph reports that “out” has it by a tiny margin but, crucially, the anti-Europe vote is likely to be more motivated so will actually show up on the day, expanding the margin by which it will win. Meanwhile the Times’ daily Red Box email points to Elections Etc. whose research suggests a 58% “remain” vote but with a plus or minus 14% error margin; so somewhere between 44% and 72% will go for staying in the EU. This, readers will note, tells us precisely nothing.

So the outcome, even if there weren’t 100 days in which Presidents and world leaders will offer counsel, claims and counterclaims will be made and the “leave” campaign will eventually decide who the official “leave” group actually is (there are two factions at the moment, doing the best impression of the Monty Python Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea that they can manage), we wouldn’t want to call a snap referendum even if it were to be called this afternoon.

What’s clear is that the outcome will ripple beyond the British mainland’s shores, and the ramifications of an “out” vote are already being felt on Gibraltar. Anyone doubting this should check today’s Times (subscription required), in which the Gibraltarian Chief Minister Fabian Picardo highlights recent Spanish statements about what would happen in the event of a Brexit.

Spain actually caused a few eyebrows to raise and some other people to panic just a little with its recent statements. Essentially the country’s foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, suggested that there would be conversations on the sovereignty of Gibraltar the “day after” an announcement of a British exit, according to the Daily Mail and other reports. He also said (much, much further down the report) that he didn’t want Britain to leave: “God forbid” is the phrase he uses.

He raised the idea of joint sovereignty once again more recently, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle, this time suggesting that if Britain leaves Europe then Gib could do what it nearly did (he says) in 2002 and start transitioning towards Spain. This is an interesting definition of “nearly” when 98.48% of the electorate actually voted not to do so, but remaining British when this might exclude the Rock from Europe would inevitably raise different issues if not a different final outcome.

Outside Gibraltarian interests the effect could be more severe than that. SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made no secret of her wish to make a fresh case for Scottish independence. The once-in-a-generation referendum on this was lost in 2014 but should Britain exit Europe with a majority of Scots clearly demonstrating that they want to stay in, the case becomes stronger (although the collapse of the oil price would blow the original blueprint out of the water).

So we could end up with Scotland as well as Gibraltar wanting to remain in Europe while Britain made its exit. Whether this would be legally possible if both stayed tied to Britain is untested as yet – and with Spain eager to enter talks the day after an exit is agreed but the Gibraltarians implacably opposed to becoming Spanish, the way forward would not be clear.

Guy Clapperton is the freelance journalist who edits the New Statesman’s Gibraltar hub. You can also find him in the Guardian, Computer Business Review and Professional Outsourcing which he edits.