Motorists queue to cross the border between Spain and Gibraltar in La Linea de la Concepcion on August 22, 2013 MARCOS MORENO/AFP/Getty Images)
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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.


  1. Commission condemns continued border delays

Gibraltar Chronicle reports: “The European Commission has slammed Spain’s failure to end “disproportionate” controls that are causing lengthy delays at the border, according to a report on the Europa Press news agency.”


  1. Spain’s proposed frontier workers permit “makes absolutely no sense” Chief Minister says

GBC News reports: “The Chief Minister says Spain's proposed permit system for cross-frontier workers, which is expected to come into effect in October, makes absolutely no sense in the modern age.”


  1. “First level precautions” in place locally as Ebola virus spreads

Your Gibraltar TV reports: “The Government has said that, although the risk of encountering a case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Gibraltar is “extremely remote”, first level precautions are in place and vigilance continues to be maintained on the Rock as the deadly virus spreads across Africa.”


  1. Minimum wage to increase to £6.15 from September

GBC News reports: “The minimum wage will increase to £6.15 as from the 1st of September.  The change announced in the Gazette contradicts the rise from £6.00 to £6.11, announced by the Chief Minister in the budget. Fabian Picardo had also announced the rise would come into effect on the 1st of August.”


  1. Communist mayor in Gibraltar invasion threat

Euro Weekly News reports: “Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, the left-wing mayor of Marinaleda, a small town near Sevilla, has announced plans for the ‘occupation’ of Gibraltar on August 29. The mayor is reportedly organising the stunt in protest of European tax havens, as well as to demand the removal of Gibraltar’s military base, and to defend the rights of Spanish fishermen in the area.”


  1. Gibraltar welcomes new military chief

Gibraltar Chronicle reports: “Thunderous blasts echoed through the air yesterday morning at the Naval Base as the new Commander of the British Forces received an 11 Gun Salute. New CBF, Commodore Ian McGhie, arrived on the Rock on Sunday for a handover to assume command of British Forces Gibraltar, but he finally took up his post yesterday.”


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.