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Gibraltar’s Role in Brexit

Daniel Carvalheiro-Santos, Staff Writer

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When many think of the United Kingdom, the words England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland come to mind. However, many of us choose to forget the endless list of other territories owned by the powerful United Kingdom. Recently, Gibraltar has been in the news for its involvement in the Brexit negotiations. Well, why would Gibraltar play such a prominent role in the Brexit negotiations?

The British exit from the European Union may help Spain regain control of Gibraltar. Spanish control of the historically British territory could bring many complications to the British Gibraltarian people. Although the territory of Gibraltar would remain under the complete control of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the negotiations contemplate whether or not Britain’s removal from the European Union would or not apply to Gibraltar. When the United Kingdom was part of the European Union, Gibraltar had certain benefits that other territories belonging to Her Majesty did not. For example, the residents of Gibraltar had free entrance into Spain, not having to pass through overly extensive border checks, thereby facilitating travel for those Gibraltarians who work in Spain. Since the declaration of the United Kingdom’s separation from the European Union, border controls have tightened and restrictions have ensued. In the past, Gibraltar also enjoyed one of the most successful and prosperous economies in the world, having a higher GDP per capita than the United Kingdom, France, Japan, and other extremely powerful and developed countries and dependencies. With its separation from the European Union, these advantages would disappear. If, however, the Gibraltarian people demanded a return to Spanish rule, this territory would still be subject to the difficult financial and economic situation that Spain is currently experiencing, yet they would still be able to reap the benefits of European citizenship. Across the border in Spain, however, the unemployment rate is nearly 35% (City of La Linea de la Concepcion) compared to a barely 1% unemployment rate in Gibraltar. Furthermore, while in Gibraltar the standard corporate tax is 10%, across the border it is 25%. These significant differences between the two neighbors have compelled the Gibraltarian people to plead for a continuance of British rule despite the repercussions of Brexit. The only option for Gibraltar is to become the exception to the Brexit negotiations, remaining a territory of the United Kingdom and a member of the European Union. The Gibraltarian people are satisfied with the economic prosperity that has come from the strong union with the United Kingdom and continue to adamantly support British control of Gibraltar.

 

Photo Credits to Government of Gibraltar

 

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