Spain inflames Gibraltar row: Politician attacks ‘pirates’ running Rock -‘We are hostages’

Picardo: Nothing will cleave Gibraltar from the UK

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In an incredible attack, leader of the far-right party Vox, Santiago Abascal accused the Spanish government of allowing Gibraltar’s sovereignty to become a lost battle. Calling for the issue to be readdressed, Mr Abascal claimed Spanish citizens had now become captives of Gibraltar. Despite the economic damage expected, he also called for the closure of the port to cut the island off from the rest of Spain.

In a further attack against the chief minister of the Rock, Fabian Picardo, the Vox leader claimed the territory is a national concern and is being damaged by the “mob of pirates” who run it.

In an interview with ABC, the Vox leader added: “We must completely eliminate any possibility of entry into Gibraltar by sea, land or air, and we must be very firm in this regard.”

Mr Abascal has now asked the Spanish prime minister to provide answers on what may be done to wrestle the Rock back to Spain.

Heavy numbers of Spanish citizens travel across the border to work in Gibraltar and according to reports, they contribute 25 percent to the Rock’s GDP.

The gate to the Rock was closed in 1969 and caused major economic problems for Gibraltar’s economy.

Under an agreement signed by the UK, Gibraltar and Spain, the physical barrier which encircles the territory will be removed.

Guards from the EU border force, Frontex will also be used for the first time to check passports in combination with Gibraltar border guards.

Due to this agreement, Gibraltar will effectively become part of Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone.

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In order to avoid disruption, the government also agreed to apply many of the same duty and trade policy measures as the EU.

Both sides, however, will hold talks over a future treaty for the territory.

During a visit to the Rock last month, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab reaffirmed the UK’s stance in relation to the overseas national territory.

He said: “As a valued member of the UK family, we stand side by side with Gibraltar as we enter into the forthcoming negotiations with the EU on Gibraltar’s future relationship.

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“We are committed to delivering a treaty which safeguards UK’s sovereignty of Gibraltar and supports the prosperity of both Gibraltar and the surrounding region.”

Despite the agreement made on Gibraltar, Spanish vessels have still violated the Rock’s waters.

Royal Navy ships are after often forced to expel Spanish vessels which have intruded into the waters around the Rock.

The HMS Dasher and a Royal Navy RHIB were both used to expel one Spanish ship in January following an incursion.

Escorting Spanish vessels from Gibraltar’s waters has happened multiple times. 

Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in 1713 during the War of Spanish Sucession. 

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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