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Alliance Of Liberals And Democrats For Europe

Resolution on Gibraltar adopted by the ELDR Party Congress in Bath (UK) on 18 October 2002

As liberals and democrats we believe that the concerns of the individual citizens of Europe are as important and comparable to the interests of its member states, and that no single country should be allowed to hold to ransom the decision making process of the European Union in pursuance of its own narrow national interest;

notes that the British Overseas territory of Gibraltar joined the European Economic Community (as it was then) on 1 January 1973 under Article 227(4) of the Treaty of Rome as a European territory for whose external affairs a member state is responsible;

further notes that EU law has applied to Gibraltar ever since it joined European Union, that the people of Gibraltar are Citizens of the Union under the Treaty of Maastricht, and that EU directives are transposed by the parliament of Gibraltar into the national law of the territory;

further notes that the citizens of Gibraltar do not have the possibility yet to vote in the European Parliament elections, although they are EU citizens and have to apply to the legislation of the European Union;

further notes that the Gibraltar issue has been used as a political weapon in the past in the European Council in order to delay and block legislation that would benefit the entire European Union such as the single European sky directive;

recalls that on 7 September 2001 the British Government announced their intention to arrive at a "comprehensive agreement" with Spain over the future of Gibraltar by the summer of 2002 which would then be put to a referendum in Gibraltar at which the people of Gibraltar could vote "yes" or "no", even though in reality there were no alternatives to "yes";

Taking account of the above, the ELDR Party,

  • urge the resolution of the dispute between the United Kingdom, Spain and Gibraltar in line with democratic principles and liberal values to acknowledge the wishes of the people of Gibraltar and their right to self-determination;
  • maintain that any such resolution cannot happen at the expense of the legal Treaty rights of the Gibraltarian people as Citizens of the Union, and of the territory of Gibraltar as the territory of the European Union, nor should these rights be withheld if there is no Anglo-Spanish agreement or if that agreement is rejected;
  • suggests that the European Union should play a more significant role in the dispute, providing a framework in which the Gibraltar issue can be resolved over a process of time;
  • declares that the liberal and democratic solution to the Gibraltar question is for the people of Gibraltar to democratically decide their own future, free of any external political pressures, and in exercise of their inalienable right to self-determination.

For more information, please visit the ELDR Party website