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26 September 2014updated 27 Sep 2023 11:07am

Gibraltar: stepping stone to europe

By New Statesman

Gibraltar: Stepping Stone to Europe 

Gibraltar is tiny. It is far from the UK, almost in Africa, but by dint of history – initially in the Treaty of Utrecht but through many subsequent agreements, reluctant or otherwise– it has been British for 300 years. Strategically important during the Second World War, it has now become economically very important to a lot of companies.

It has become an epicentre of the electronic gambling industry, with almost 30 companies licensed to operate there. It is home to a large number of financial services and shipping companies. This has undoubtedly been influenced by its low tax regime; but don’t fall for the hype – it is a rigorously enforced regime, compliant with more European directives than many of its neighbours.

Its location means it is a natural gateway both to Europe and to Africa. These may be among the factors apparently insulating it from the world’s economic downturn, through which it continued to grow albeit at a slower rate than before. It’s growing its software industry and angling its tourism to ensure longer visits from people at different times of the year. It’s tiny allright – but its prospects have never been so.

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