Spain Demands ‘Decolonization’ of Gibraltar
Is Gibraltar merely a “colony” of Britain with no right to decide who claims sovereignty over it in the future? That is the claim of one European Union document released on February 1.
In what some diplomats called a historic victory for Spain, the EU has published an official document endorsing the idea that Gibraltar’s status is contested and must be sorted out as part of Brexit negotiations.
Britain and the EU have agreed that their citizens will remain exempt from visa requirements when visiting each other’s nations. This applies to British overseas territories, of which Gibraltar is one. Spain caused a footnote to be inserted on page 6 of the document, reading as follows:
Gibraltar is a colony of the British Crown. There is a controversy between Spain and the United Kingdom concerning the sovereignty over Gibraltar, a territory for which a solution has to be reached in light of the relevant resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Although Gibraltar’s status is not about to change in the next few days, the text grants a new level of acknowledgement to Spain’s long-lasting desire to reclaim sovereignty over it.
Worse was the reported initial wording, which was even more inflammatory. It called for the “decolonization” of Gibraltar, language which affords insight into Spain’s long-term goal for the area.
Spain was forced to cede Gibraltar to the British in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. More than 300 years later, it is still struggling to get it back, despite the will of its inhabitants. Gibraltarians voted to stay in the EU for economic reasons, but they are also extremely loyal to Britain. In a 2002 referendum, virtually all of Gibraltar’s population (99 percent) voted to remain British, rejecting even the idea of shared sovereignty between Britain and Spain.
British officials responded angrily over the footnote. “It’s unnecessarily provocative, and it’s pejorative to describe the relationship between Gibraltar and the United Kingdom as being ‘colonial,’” said Gibraltarian Chief Minister Fabian Picardo. “The people of Gibraltar are full British citizens, and we feel very much a full part of the British family of nations.”
Another official said, “Gibraltar is not a colony, and it is completely inappropriate to describe [it] in this way.”
“Spanish diplomats say it’s the first time the EU has endorsed in a written text Madrid’s three-centuries-old claim over the sovereignty of the Rock, as well as proof that the EU will be on Spain’s side in the dispute,” reported Politico. The EU is siding with Spain in this dispute, citing the fact that the UK is seeking to leave the Union. “We will always take the side of a member against a nonmember,” an EU official told Reuters.
Spain is again taking advantage of Brexit negotiations to use Gibraltar as a bargaining chip. At the end of 2018, Spanish Prime Minster Pedro Sanchez vowed to “veto Brexit” if his demands were not met, using the issue of Gibraltar’s status after Brexit to demand British concessions on the draft withdrawal deal.
Gibraltar itself is in a vulnerable situation. Gibraltarians remain staunchly British. However, Gibraltar voted to stay in the EU on account of its economic needs. With an economy largely dependent on the financial sector, tourism and shipping, it is hard to overstate its dependence on trading freely with the EU.
Talk of “decolonizing” Gibraltar is nothing new. Our booklet He Was Right states:
The first chinks in the British armor came to light in 1985 when London and Madrid discussed an agreement to tackle the question of sovereignty over Gibraltar. “For us, this really opens a process of decolonizing the Rock,” the Spanish Foreign Ministry at the time said of the discussions.
What most do not know about Gibraltar is that despite its ultra-British patriotism, it will end up being betrayed by the very nation it claims allegiance to. The late educator Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Plain Truth magazine, predecessor to the Trumpet, relied on proven, foundational Bible prophecies to understand the direction of world events. The accuracy of his Bible-based predictions is highlighted in He Was Right, which states:
Of the major sea gates Mr. Armstrong mentioned in the October 1954 Plain Truth, only the Rock of Gibraltar has yet to be surrendered. But there is no shortage of evidence to show that Britain’s grip on it is loosening.
“If it were expedient, politically or otherwise, Britain would most probably relinquish Gibraltar,” the Plain Truth declared in September 1974. “In the long run, the British government fully intends to negotiate away Gibraltar,” the August 1982 issue said. …
Which nation do the people of Gibraltar prefer alignment with? The Rock is actually more patriotically British than anywhere in the British Isles. The Union Jack flutters everywhere on the territory. Fish and chips shops and pubs are ubiquitous. And every time the people—now numbering around 30,000—are asked about the matter, close to 100 percent of them vote to remain under British sovereignty.
But as Spanish demands grow louder, British backbone grows weaker.
In 2002, British Prime Minister Tony Blair tried to hand Gibraltar over to Spain because he viewed it as an annoying “obstacle” hindering a warmer relationship between the UK and the European Union. The secret deal ultimately failed, but Spanish leaders took encouragement from the news and began pushing to allow only Britain and Spain to discuss the sovereignty of the Rock, instead of including Gibraltarian authorities in three-way talks. This formula would allow Madrid to capitalize on the growing British weakness.
Spain continues to use the same strategy: Treat Gibraltar as a colony, and capitalize on an ever weakening Britain burdened by Brexit negotiations. Watch as Mr. Armstrong’s Bible-based predictions come true for Gibraltar, just as they have for other strategically important British overseas possessions.
These forecasts are based on Bible scriptures. The Bible prophesied thousands of years ago that Britain and America would gain control of the world’s most important sea gates. It also said these nations would lose them. To learn more about the specifically documented track record of fulfilled Bible prophecy, request your free copy of He Was Right.