Its over! Furious Gibraltar row erupts as Spanish politician hits out at UK invasion

Picardo: Nothing will cleave Gibraltar from the UK

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The Secretary General of Vox, a far-right party in Spain, is accusing the Andalusian and the Spanish Government of allowing the entry of “contaminated” land so that the Rock continues to build on Spanish territorial waters.

After he visited La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz) last Thursday, Javier Ortega Smith lamented an attack on national sovereignty by Gibraltar under British lead.

He said: “For those of us who defend national sovereignty, territorial unity and the free development of Campo de Gibraltar, it is unacceptable to continue yielding to blackmail and the invasion of Gibraltar.

“We must tell them very clearly that this is over, that we are not going to allow it anymore, and that we are going to permanently vindicate our sovereignty and control of our waters.”

Mr Smith has insisted that Vox does not renounce the sovereignty of the Rock, which he recalled is the last colony of the European Union.

He added: “It belongs to us by right and by history.

“We claim the national sovereignty of Gibraltar and especially of those areas that are being permanently occupied.

“According to the Treaty of Utrecht, they neither had waters of national sovereignty nor could they have gotten out of the little space occupied by the fortress.”

He claimed the airport, the occupied waters and the land continue to be under Spanish sovereignty.

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Referring to the mountain of land in the eastern part of the Rock, bordering La Línea de la Concepción, where a luxurious housing development is being built, he said: “This allows us to say today, with more force than ever, that the accumulation of contaminated land is unacceptable, and with the complicity and permission of Andalusia and Spain, they are crossing our border.”

The Spanish nationalists went further by accusing the British of “invading Spain by the annexation and expansionist policy of the colony of Gibraltar” and of harassing Spanish fishermen, “as well as our Security Forces when they fight drug trafficking and the illegal tobacco trade”.

In addition to calling for a comprehensive plan for the Campo de Gibraltar, Mr Smith asks that this Cadiz region be recognised as an area of special singularity, “a kind of zone where investment by companies is encouraged and they are committed to tax incentives, as well as investments in infrastructures and social plans.”

And he added: “To fight crime, we must provide an alternative and create wealth in the area, because this is not a problem of Campo de Gibraltar, not even of Andalusia, but a national problem that needs a national plan and permanent measures.”

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In relation to the agreement signed between the Spanish and British governments, Vox states in its initiative that it affects the lives of thousands of Spanish workers and national historical demands from more than three centuries ago, and has been “reached without any kind of political debate and, to this day, the Spanish do not even know its content.”

The party points out that it could be openly contrary to the Constitution because it did not obtain the prior authorisation of both the Congress and the Senate.

They added: “The Government of Spain has eluded the participation of the Spanish people and their representatives in the negotiation of an agreement that directly affects the entire nation, hiding for weeks the content of these negotiations from the Spanish, who will be directly affected by the agreement.”

Demands for the Rock to fully return under Spain’s territorial jurisdiction have been growing since the Brexit referendum, when Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU.

British Armed Forces registered a total of 830 Spanish incursions into Gibraltar’s territory in 2020.

The Strategic Command of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom recorded 37 overflights of the Spanish Air Force and 27 intrusions of Spanish Navy ships throughout the year.

The remaining incursions were carried out by the Spanish Civil Guard or customs officers.

Britain records any incidents they consider to be Spanish incursions in the waters and airspace belonging to Gibraltar.

Spain does not recognise such incidents because maritime territory or airspace restrictions were not included in the historic Treaty of Utrecht which gave Britain sovereignty over the Rock in 1713.

The figures were released by defence chiefs after a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request by a resident of Gibraltar and were first published by the Confidencial Digital newspaper.

British Armed Forces Strategic Command said its figures were based on “incursions” into the “British Territorial Waters of Gibraltar” as defined in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which occurred between January 1 and December 31 2020.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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