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Sentiment in Gibraltar in Favor of Retaining Connections with Britain - Scholar

© REUTERS / Jon NazcaThe Union Jack (L), the Gibraltarian flag (C) and the European Union flag are seen flying at the border of Gibraltar with Spain, in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain April 3, 2017.
The Union Jack (L), the Gibraltarian flag (C) and the European Union flag are seen flying at the border of Gibraltar with Spain, in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain April 3, 2017. - Sputnik International
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Spanish MEP, Esteban González Pon, said “we won’t have a better chance” to reach an agreement over the Rock than during Brexit talks at the European parliament in Strasbourg. Sputnik spoke to Gerry O'Reilly from City University Dublin and Alana Moceri from the European University in Madrid to ask how Brexit could affect issues like Gibraltar.

Sputnik: Has sentiment changed now in Gibraltar since the referendum in 2002 when vast majority of citizens voted to remain part of British Overseas Territory?

Gerry O'Reilly: The answer is sentiment as such, as in the referendum as you have pointed out was over 99% in favor of retaining connections with Britain and those sentiments are still very, very strong. But they could change in the future depending on how things go in the coming years, particularly the possibility of Gibraltar being left out of a transition deal would mean an economic limbo in 2019 for the people of Gibraltar.

Spanish fishermen wave Spanish flags during a protest in the bay of Algeciras on August 18, 2013. A Spanish protest fleet of 38 fishing boats sailed towards Gibraltar today to demand the British outpost remove 70 concrete blocks it has dropped in their fishing grounds. - Sputnik International
Spanish Prime Minister Hopes to Make Deal on Gibraltar With UK in October
Sputnik: Gerry also said that Gibraltar was completely integrated with the economy and culture in Spain, which had to be taken into account in the Brexit negotiations…

Gerry O'Reilly: Gibraltar and the immediate Spanish area are completely symbiotic and interwoven from every point of view for both the territory of Gibraltar and the Campol around it. And statements and data have been produced by their financial agencies and other researchers in the area that that linkage is there so any threat to that could change attitudes in Gibraltar.

Sputnik: Taking into account the UK Defence Minster's reference to 'seizing the rock of Gibraltar' as being one of the UK's most glorious moments; would Brexit give British colonies more significance as Britain once again finds itself alone in the world after EU withdrawal?

Gerry O'Reilly: Unless you're planning to recreate the British empire! It was probably fit for purpose at the time but 'Make Spain Great Again' or 'Make the UK Great Again' — what does that actually mean in the reality of today and the huge globalization processes and the reality of the people in Gibraltar. It doesn't seem fit for purpose — it's outdated.

The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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