BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  UK Politics
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Saturday, 16 March, 2002, 22:13 GMT
Gibraltar attacks sovereignty plan
The Rock was seized by Britain in 1704
A "massive" demonstration against plans for joint British-Spanish sovereignty of Gibraltar has been called by the colony's government.

Peter Caruana
Mr Caruana says a mass protest is needed
It said European leaders meeting in Barcelona had ignored residents' democratic rights by appearing to back a power-sharing deal.

And commenting on Spanish newspaper reports that 35m of EU development money is to be spent on the Rock as a "sweetener" Chief Minister Peter Caruana said the colony could not be bought "for any sum of money".

He said residents should show their rejection of any moves to strip the territory of its British status by taking part in a rally on Monday.

Rights 'ignored'

Mr Caruana spoke after EU leaders issued a joint statement praising "both governments' commitments to overcome their differences over Gibraltar and to conclude a comprehensive agreement before the summer".

The fact that all the European countries are coming together to back our efforts is helpful

Foreign Office
But Mr Caruana said: "The Gibraltar government deeply regrets the EU Council's failure to refer to the wishes of the people of Gibraltar".

He said a full agreement had not been expected as soon as the summer and the EU proposal ignored the democratic rights of Gibraltarians.

'Bounced' into deal

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said there is "no question" of Gibraltar being handed to Spain, or of its residents losing their British citizenship.

But the terms being considered by the two governments have not been made clear and Mr Straw has said maintaining the status quo is not a tolerable option.

The government has pledged a referendum on any deal, but many Gibraltarians fear that they are being "bounced" into accepting joint sovereignty.

London and Madrid have been in talks about the future of Gibraltar for a year, reviving the so-called Brussels process begun by Margaret Thatcher in 1984.

See also:

16 Mar 02 | Europe
EU summit agrees key reforms
15 Mar 02 | Europe
Gibraltar's best friend in Spain
14 Mar 02 | Europe
Growing up on the Rock
13 Mar 02 | Europe
The rocky road to Spain
11 Feb 02 | UK Politics
'Gibraltar wants to remain British'
05 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Straw accused of Gibraltar betrayal
06 Feb 02 | England
Scramble for Rock votes
04 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Gibraltar talks 'still on course'
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories