Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from Hon Dr Joseph Garcia, Leader, Liberal Party of Gibraltar

  1.  The Liberal Party of Gibraltar was formed in 1991. We have two members who sit in the Gibraltar House of Assembly and in an alliance with the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party, hold all seven Opposition seats.

  2.  We have been involved with Liberal International since 1996, and in 2000 at its Congress in Ottawa were admitted as a full member of that organisation. In March 2001, we were admitted as a full member of the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR Party). Our youth wing belongs to the Liberal Youth Movement of the European Union (LYMEC), and to the International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth (IFLRY). We are the only political party in Gibraltar with international recognition of this kind.

  3.  The Party notes that the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee intends to look at Gibraltar again and will be coming here to take evidence on 1-2 July 2002. Submissions in writing have also been invited.

  4.  The Liberal Party of Gibraltar is totally opposed to the existing Anglo-Spanish negotiating process under the Brussels Agreement. Indeed, we welcomed the conclusions in your report of June 1999 which called for the process to be replaced. Instead of this, the British Government decided to relaunch it in July 2001. We have long maintained that the outcome of these negotiations is pre-determined to secure a Spanish Gibraltar, in whole or in part, and have long argued that this is a contravention of our right to self-determination. This is now borne out by the events that have transpired since the relaunch of the process last summer.

  5.  We enclose as evidence a series of resolutions adopted by international organisations on the subject of Gibraltar.[10]

    1.  Liberal International Resolution—adopted in March 2002 at its Congress in Hungary (Annex A). Liberal International is the global federation of Liberal political parties at a senior level, with 88 parties affiliated to it, 30 of which are in Government in their respective countries.

    2.  Liberal Democrat Youth and Students (Annex B)—adopted in March 2002 at its Congress in Warwick, England. LDYS is the autonomous youth movement of the British Liberal Democrats.

    3.  Liberal Youth Movement of the European Union (Annex C)—adopted in March 2002 at its Congress in Romania. LYMEC is the youth wing of the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR).

    4.  International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth (Annex D)—adopted in November 2001 at its Congress in Brussels, Belgium. IFLRY is the youth movement of Liberal International.

  6.  It is our contention that Gibraltar must be decolonised in the same way as any other colonial territory, and that the paramount consideration must be that the Gibraltarians freely and democratically deciding what they want in exercise of their right to self-determination. This runs counter to the policy of the present British Government which seems intent to secure a joint-sovereignty deal with Spain, in exchange for which Spain will drop its harassment of Gibraltar.

  7.  There is no support in Gibraltar for the route down which the present British Government has embarked. It makes no sense to us for the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to have come here on a consultation exercise last Friday, 3 May, after the Anglo-Spanish deal is almost complete, rather than having done so before July of last year to see whether Gibraltar supported the relaunch of the Brussels process or not. It would have been clear prior to July 2001 that the Gibraltarians felt the same way. We now run the risk of having raised expectations in Spain that a deal will be delivered, and once again the people of Gibraltar will bear the brunt of Spanish hostility if Madrid's expectations are not met. Indeed, this was threatened last week in "The Guardian" newspaper by Prime Minister Aznar.

  I trust that the enclosed resolutions, which are now the policy of the various organisations on this subject, are of use, and we are only too happy to answer any questions that the Select Committee may have in writing or in person.

The Hon Dr Joseph Garcia

Leader, Liberal Party of Gibraltar

May 2002

10   These Resolutions are not published with this evidence. Copies have been placed in the Library. Back

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