Great Britain

Spain capitulates on Gibraltar! Madrid shamed as Brexit deal 'second surrender' of Rock

Picardo: Nothing will cleave Gibraltar from the UK

José Manuel García-Margallo said a last-minute Brexit deal between Madrid and London was "nonsense and very difficult to implement in practice". And in a blistering attack on the socialist government of Pedro Sanchez, he warned his country had shown a lack of "national will" and was in danger of becoming a "foreign irrelevance".

The moment you renounce to sovereignty, you are surrendering. When will we have a greater chance?

José Manuel García-Margallo

Mr Margallo said the agreements were sold as "a diplomatic victory" by Madrid but had in fact represented the resignation of all Spanish interests on Gibraltar.

He said Brexit negotiations had provided the "greatest opportunity" to defend Spain's interests but that those chances had been lost.

He said: "Imagine you have a squat in your house and the EU gives you the keys and says that everything will be negotiated when you want.

"And so you take the key and tell the squatters not to worry because you are also going to pay for their electricity, gas and council rate as well.

"Why did you want the key then? It doesn’t make sense."

Gibraltar

A former Spanish foreign minister says Spain has surrendered on Gibraltar (Image: PA)

Mr Margallo, who was Spain's foreign minister from 2011 to 2016 and is now an MEP, has written a book called "Gibraltar, The Second Surrender".

The book takes a historical and political journey from ancient times to the present day, of the strategic importance of the Rock and its relevance in the debate on "decolonisation".

Mr Margallo said he wanted it to be a "reference book on Gibraltar".

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José Manuel García-Margallo

José Manuel García-Margallo warned Spain was becoming an 'irrelevance' (Image: GETTY)

José Manuel García-Margallo

José Manuel García-Margallo branded a Brexit deal between Madrid and London "nonsense (Image: GETTY)

He said: "There is no book that contemplates the aspect chronologically in all its dimension and all aspects: Utrech, United Nations, Brexit, economic issues, defence."

The book also explains the co-sovereignty proposal that Me Margallo defended when he was in charge of Spanish diplomacy.

He said: "The proposal had advantages for all: 40 years of co-sovereignty in foreign and defence matters, to make a large Rota-Gibraltar base, there would be no gate and Gibraltar would have been part of Schengen and the customs union, dual nationality, respect for the institutions of self-government and create a special economic zone between Gibraltar, Campo de Gibraltar and Ceuta.

"On the contrary, the preliminary agreement signed by the current minister, Arancha González Laya, is nonsense and very difficult to implement in practice since it implies solving some day-to-day problems and pausing the sovereignty issue for later."

He continued: "When you resign in a negotiation, from the beginning, your main objective is lost.

"What did the United Kingdom want? Sovereignty and a base that we pay for, because it is already free, the United Kingdom does not invest anything.

"What did Gibraltar want? To continue living with the best of both worlds, with a special tax regime, with a very broad autonomy and within the internal market of the EU.

"And what did Spain want? Sovereignty, ending the tax haven and ending a model of dependence on the Campo de Gibraltar.

"The moment you renounce to sovereignty, you are surrendering. When will we have a greater chance?

"It's wrong that Gibraltar is now better off with the UK outside the EU than with the UK inside."

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Gibraltar

The Brexit deal on Gibraltar was no diplomatic victory, according to José Manuel García-Margallo (Image: PA)

Mr Margallo said the only thing that has been achieved is "to give Gibraltar a State status that it did not have before, without saying a word about the tax regime and without resolving any of the distortions of the system".

He said: "If the government perseveres today in not facing the problem, we will be leading the second surrender of Gibraltar."

(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)

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