The Government deplore the misinformation and blatant inaccuracy of comments about Gibraltar made by Ciudadanos MEP Jordi Canas earlier today. It is clear that he does not have a clue about Gibraltar, still less about the positive and close economic inter-relationship between Gibraltar and the neighbouring region of Spain. Someone in his position should know better.
The tone of Mr Canas’ comments and the attitude that he displays is not too different to the insults and false accusations that were hurled against Gibraltar by fascist politicians in the days of General Franco. This is alarming and can lead to the incitement of hatred against a people, particularly when the comments are without foundation and without any basis in fact.
The truth is that Gibraltar provides employment for some 15,000 persons who live in Spain and work in Gibraltar, including over 9000 Spanish citizens.
The truth is that Spain exports goods and materials valued at 1.5 billion euros a year to Gibraltar.
The truth is that Gibraltar is the largest export market for the province of Cadiz.
The truth is that Gibraltar residents spend over £80 million a year in the Spanish economy.
The truth is that Gibraltar contributes 25% of the GDP of the neighbouring area of Spain.
The truth is that Gibraltar is the second largest employer for the entire region of Andalucia, after its regional Government.
The reality, therefore, is that Gibraltar makes a positive economic impact on Spain and a positive contribution to its economy. The Gibraltar Protocol to the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement, four Memoranda of Understanding and a Tax Treaty with Spain are already in place to provide a solid basis for cooperation going forward.
It is obvious that Mr Canas is simply interested in making headlines with negative and destructive statements that show little or no regard for reality. Ironically, his position is totally contrary to the position of his colleague, Adrian Vasquez, also a Ciudadanos MEP, who last week in the Campo made no disparaging remarks about Gibraltar at all.