EU commissioner sparks fury among Britons after claiming 'Gibraltar is Spanish'

EU commissioner sparks fury among Britons after claiming 'Gibraltar is Spanish'

WATCH NOW: Brexit Britain leading the way - Liam Halligan

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 06/04/2024

- 17:04

Updated: 06/04/2024

- 17:04

Critics have hit back at the remarks as Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in 1713

An EU commissioner has sparked fury among Britons after he claimed “Gibraltar is Spanish”.

Speaking on the chances of completing a Brexit deal for the peninsula before the June deadline, Margaritis Schinas, the European Commissioner for Promoting our European Way of Life, uttered a Franco-era slogan in support of Spanish sovereignty over the Rock.

The comments have been deemed ill-judged by critics who have highlighted that Spain has not demanded sovereignty over the overseas British territory as part of the Brexit negotiations.

“I can more comfortably say ‘Gibraltar español’ after Brexit,” said Schinas.

Margaritis Schinas delivers a speech on the European Commission Guidelines

Margaritis Schinas delivers a speech on the European Commission Guidelines


“And it’s not just the only area where things are better after Brexit.”

Hitting back against the remarks, Brexiteer Gully Foyle, told the Express: “The EU said the quiet bit out loud.

“They expect their pound of flesh for the UK daring to leave their club - and that flesh is Gibraltar (and NI).

“But this is ultimately what the EU is - a homogenisation, a stripping of identity. No. No more.”

The Spanish-Gibraltar borderThe Spanish-Gibraltar borderWikimedia Commons

London and Brussels is negotiating a deal to secure a common travel area between Spain and the Rock ahead of June’s EU Parliamentary Elections.

Madrid has not requested sovereignty over Gibraltar as part of the Brexit negotiations.

Residents on the Rock voted decisively against power sharing with Spain in 2002.

Schinas, a Greek Iberophone, is not leading EU negotiations over the Rock.

Maros Sefcovic is instead playing the main role after taking the UK to task over Northern Ireland.

View of Casemates Square, Gibraltar.View of Casemates Square, GibraltarPA

Jose Manuel Albares, the Spanish foreign minister, recently insisted negotiations were progressing at “a good pace”.

“I have spoken with Commissioner Schinas regarding those statements he made, which seem very unfortunate and incomprehensible to me because Commissioner Schinas is not at all involved in the dossier of the withdrawal agreement concerning Gibraltar,” Albares told Spanish TV.

However, David Jones, a former Cabinet minister, said: “Schinas has let the cat out of the bag. The EU clearly intends the negotiations to result in Spanish sovereignty over the Rock.

“He underestimates the resolve of both the United Kingdom and the people of Gibraltar.

“As Chief minister Fabian Picardo has made clear, Gibraltar is ‘British, British, British’, and that is the way it will stay.”

The European Commission was also forced to distance itself from Schinas' comments, claiming negotiations were entering a “sensitive phase”.

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