The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, on Wednesday in A3 TV./ Picture: R.M./La Razón.
Agustín Yanel. Madrid.
Gibraltar does not get Spanish politicians to agree. Each parliamentary group approaches the dispute differently. Apparently, there is not a clear policy of State accepted by everyone. The PP roundly refused to hold a meeting on Wednesday in Madrid with the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo. The PSOE limited to hold an unofficial meeting. UPyD restricted it to its representatives in Andalusia, who finally suspended the meeting, and CiU let one of their delegates to meet Fabian Picardo out of the Congress with extreme discretion. However, IU-ICV-CHA, PNV, ERC, BNG, Na-Bai and Compromis did meet the Gibraltarian politician.
Several of those meetings were celebrated in official offices of each party in the so called Building of Groups, placed in front of the palace of Carrera de San Jerónimo, and others out of the parliament with maximum discretion. Sources close to Picardo explained to The Diplomat that he had requested, in writing, interviews with all the spokespeople of the groups with a triple objective: offering dialogue to all of them and to the Spanish Government; providing them with all the information they needed about the British colony to clear up any queries, and inviting them to visit Gibraltar so that they know the situation first-hand. “I come to explain Gibraltar’s reality”, the Chief Minister stated after one of the meetings.
Picardo achieved his objective in good part, because several spokespeople held meetings with him that they described as “very cordial”. But there were also differences in the importance that each party granted to this visit.
The PP neither answered the meeting request nor received Picardo. UPyD, did not give the meeting much importance and make him meet their coordinator in Andalusia, Martín de la Herrán. They had made an appointment at 10:00 a.m. for Tuesday 8 July in a hotel of Seville, but the news was spread all over the social networks and extreme right-wing groups called for a gathering in front of that place. On Monday at the last minute, from the party of Rosa Díez, Picardo’s team was informed that, due to the spreading of the news, they cancelled it and they did not meet.
CiU’s spokesperson did not meet Picardo, but those of IU-ICV-CHA, ERC and PNV did
CiU’s spokesperson at the Congress and president of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Josep Antoni Duran Lleida, did not accept meeting him either, but another representative of the Catalonian nationalists did meet Picardo, out of the Congress and with much discretion. So much discretion that, when the Gibraltarian leader was heading to the hotel where they had arranged the meeting, he was seen by journalists and they decided to meet somewhere else nearby.
The PSOE did not want to give much importance to the visit either and, for that reason, their spokesperson, Soraya Rodríguez, decided that neither her not any other representative of her group would meet Picardo in the Congress buildings. Nevertheless, the Gibraltarian politician was received by socialists: in the evening, he had dinner with the representative Manuel Chaves, former president of the Junta de Andalucia, and Juan Moscoso, spokesperson of his party in the Joint Committee Congress-Senate for the European Union.
The ones that did meet him and did not object to say it were the spokespeople of IU-ICV-CHA, of the PNV and of the parties of the Joint Group ERC, BNG, Na-Bai y Compromis. The representative of IU, José Luis Centella, transmitted his concern to Picardo about the situation of the 10,000 Spanish workers waiting in line to enter the Rock or of those who are not recognized the right to have a pension. The Chief Minister has responded that it would be good for the Spanish and Gibraltarian trade unions to talk about these problems, to solve them.
Centella told him that his party tries to put an end to all tax havens, among them that of Gibraltar, to what the Chief Minister responded that the Government of Mariano Rajoy refuses to collaborate with the Executive of the Rock as regards taxation. IU’s spokesperson also told him that this left-wing party works “so that Gibraltar’s people want to be Spanish”.
Joan Tardá, of ERC, used the meeting to explain the preparations the Catalonian Government and the autonomous Parliament are carrying out to be able to celebrate the pro-independence referendum next 9 November. Picardo did not pronounce himself, but he listened to him “carefully”.
Aitor Esteban, of PNV, met Picardo because, according to what he said, “you have to meet everyone, not matter if they think like you or not, if you like them more or less”.
Fabián Picardo, who seemed to be “very satisfied” with all the meetings, preferred not specifying the parties he had meetings with, because, according to him, “they try to intimidate people so that they do not meet me”. “I am only armed with words and arguments”, he said ironically.
In those meetings with different groups of the opposition, apart from listening to what each of them transmitted to him, they exchanged opinions about fishing, the Rock as “financial centre and not as tax haven” and about “all those matters repeated in the media, so that the truth and our point of view are made public”, he affirmed.