Britain could lose Gibraltar to Spain in this Brexit fiasco

Gibraltar is in talks with Scotland to come up with a plan for both of them to remain inside the EU, according to the BBC.

Spain is licking its lips over the idea.

The Spanish flag on the Rock is much closer than before,” Spain’s acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said. The Spanish government wants joint sovereignty of the British island, which it believes is Spanish. The residents of Gibraltar are massively in favour of remaining British and inside the EU.

The Scots, of course, have a viable plan to stay in the EU: A second independence referendum that would split the North from its English neighbour.

Not so the Gibraltans.

The Rock isn’t big enough to be its own country and the Leave majority in the EU Referendum vote currently means that Gibraltar is joining the rest of the UK in the Brexit.

Joint sovereignty would be a humiliation for Britain — the UK has successfully defended its Spanish outpost since it captured the territory in 1704. It would also be a personal humiliation for prime minister David Cameron, who looks set to be the man who lost Europe, probably will lose Scotland and may even lose Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom.

So what is the alternative? The easiest solution is for Gibraltar to become Spanish — an unthinkable situation for the residents there.

One alternative model might be Hong Kong, the territory that was British under an agreement that it be handed back to China after a 99-year “lease” period. That scenario still ends up with Gibraltar ultimately becoming Spanish.

Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister, said Spanish rule would never happen:

“Anybody who thinks that this is a time to propose joint sovereignty or that they’re going to get any millimetre of advantage in respect of the sovereignty of Gibraltar is completely wrong. They shouldn’t waste their breath, they shouldn’t waste their time, they shouldn’t waste the time of the European people as we try to navigate this issue that has been presented to us on Friday morning.”

And … there’s one other scary/bizarre scenario here: The Falkland Islands. Previously, it was unthinkable that Spain and the UK might go to war over Gibraltar, the way the UK and Argentina fought over the Falklands. Obviously that’s not a likely scenario. But after last week who the heck knows.

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