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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 14:19 GMT
Gibraltar referendum result in quotes
Gibraltar seen from the Spanish side of the border
Gibraltar's message to Spain: Access prohibited
After an overwhelming and almost unanimous vote by Gibraltarians to reject plans by London and Madrid to share sovereignty over the Rock, BBC Monitoring looks at what is being said in the media in both Gibraltar and Spain.

Headlines from Iberia News - Gibraltar online news site:

"99% Vote No - An Overwhelming Victory"

"Gibraltar sends a clear message - we win"

"Gibraltar kills off chances of joint sovereignty"


During an impassioned speech Mr Caruana accused Spain of systematically treating Gibraltar with 'sheer contempt'

Gibraltar Chronicle
The same website reports that the chairman of observers said he "had never before seen such well organised and well run voting procedures".

It also quotes the General Secretary of the UK's Transport and General Workers' Union, Bill Morris, welcoming the No vote and summing up the message sent to the UK Government as: "Let us start again."

Gibraltar Chronicle online edition:

In a story headlined "Massive 'No' Puts Blair On The Spot" the paper quotes Chief Minister Peter Caruana as saying the result showed there was "nothing but grief" down the road of joint sovereignty.

"During an impassioned speech Mr Caruana, who was constantly interrupted with loud applause and cheers from the floor, accused Spain of systematically treating Gibraltar with 'sheer contempt'," it reports.

"He said democracy had spoken and Gibraltar could go to bed with its political rights and dignity intact in the knowledge that joint sovereignty had now been 'kicked into the long grass'."

In a separate report, the Gibraltar Chronicle, quotes Gibraltar opposition leader Joe Bossano.

"Nobody can argue against 99% in favour of one option, which is the option of saying No to Spain. I have no doubt that the British Government will find a way of wriggling out of the undertakings they have given to Spain."

Spanish national radio:

"In any case, both London and Madrid have announced their willingness to continue talking and holding the negotiations. Neither of the two governments consider this consultation legally valid."

El Pais newspaper:


No Spanish government, neither this one or its predecessors, has done enough to make joint sovereignty or integration with Spain an attractive prospect

El Pais
"The people of Gibraltar began a journey to nowhere yesterday with a consultation to reject 'any model of shared sovereignty' between Madrid and London.

"It was a consultation without legal value about a solution that hasn't even been agreed by the British and Spanish governments.

"The two main agitators of this referendum - the chief minister, Peter Caruana, and the leader of the opposition, Joe Bossano - must now answer the question: Now what?

"It was a dishonest consultation, beneath which lay the idea that Gibraltar could opt for independence or the status quo.

"The first possibility goes against the Treaty of Utrecht, which is unambiguous despite being 300 years old: if it changes hands, the Rock would revert to Spanish sovereignty.

"And keeping things as they are isn't possible either. The Rock has become a tax haven, which a good number of Spaniards benefit from, and needs far-reaching reform, according to both the EU and the OECD.

"But the result of the consultation cannot be ignored.

"No Spanish government, neither this one or its predecessors, has done enough to make joint sovereignty or integration with Spain an attractive prospect for the inhabitants of the Rock."

El Mundo newspaper:

"This unsurprising vote in fact changes nothing about the way a dispute lasting almost three centuries is seen. What the Gibraltarians have pretty much said is that they aren't Spanish and nor do they want to be... it is not at all surprising that they voted that way.


It is unacceptable for two sovereign states that are friends and allies to have their hands tied by a tiny and unruly colony

ABC newspaper
"The problem is the future... The current population [and their wish to be British] cannot be ignored and nor can a European country be allowed to have a colony in the territory of another for ever.

"That's why the idea of joint sovereignty is fitting. It would smooth over the historical territorial dispute and allow a Gibraltar with all its current rights to develop fully and without obstacles co-operation with the Gibraltar hinterland [the Spanish mainland just over the border from Gibraltar], taking up the leading role in one of the areas in the EU with the biggest potential for growth.

"That, and not ghosts of the past, is what we should be talking about today."

ABC newspaper:

The conservative daily describes the referendum as an illegal "sham plebiscite".

"It was a clumsy challenge to the mother country, because the Rock's leaders have tied themselves to the mast of an unreal right of self-determination that disrupts London's foreign policy...

"Blair and Straw have let them do it... To what extent the interests of 30,000 Gibraltarians can impose themselves over a British policy of state is something only Downing Street can decide...

"It is unacceptable for two sovereign states that are friends and allies to have their hands tied by a tiny and unruly colony."


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05 Jun 99 | Europe
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