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02-08 May 2017

Gibraltar doesn’t, shouldn’t and won’t bother the Spanish


Pilar feels Easter tourism boost The Department of Tourism for Pilar de la Horadada has reported on the number of visitors using the Tourist Information services this Easter, and showed a 32% increase compared to 2016. Councillor for Tourism, Pilar María Samper, stressed that “both the programming of events for these dates and our tourist resources and the good weather enjoyed over these days have led to an increase in the number of visitors in our town.” Visitors from the United Kingdom topped the list of nationalities using the facilities, followed by those from Germany and Belgium and the French close behind.

Gibraltar is only a bugbear to Spanish people when it’s mentioned. It seldom is. How many times do you recall outrage and protests outside the U.K embassy in Madrid? No. One must be careful to avoid thinking the Spanish see Gibraltar as some kind of occupation. It’s neither a nightmare of history or a daily affront on par with a zoned Berlin in the Cold War. It’s absurd to assume that 6.7 square kilometres are a tipping point to war for most people, save for the hawks which exist in both countries. Lord Howard’s remarks in recent weeks did just that: the elderly Lord, who holds no government position, told a breakfast show that it was the anniversary of the Falklands War and that: “I’m absolutely certain that our current prime minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar.” The history of the peninsula is steeped in a confusion that is actually quite simple. An Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from Spain in 1704 during the War of

the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish throne. The territory was subsequently ceded to Great Britain “in perpetuity” under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Flashforward, and in both the 1967 and 2002 referenda, Gibraltarians overwhelmingly rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty by 99.19% and 98.97% respectively. In 2006, it solidified its constitutional identity following another referendum in 2006, though some of its powers, such as defence and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of the UK government. Despite all of this, the Spanish Government still contests Gibraltar’s sovereignty, all while forgetting its own territorial arrangements. The government of Morocco has repeatedly called for Spain to transfer the sovereignty of Ceuta and Melilla, together with the rest of the Spanish plazas de soberanía (small islands and peninsulas) on the North African coast. Morocco has claimed the territories are colonies and demands their return on the grounds

of restoring its territorial integrity, even though a majority of the residents want the region to remain Spanish. The Spanish Government position is that both Ceuta and Melilla are integral parts of the Spanish state, and have been since the 15th century. While they are autonomous and have their own administrations, the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories does not include these territories because they are Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta; sitting somewhere between a standard Spanish city and autonomous community. Gibraltar, because it has its own government and is all entirely selfgoverning, sits on the list. The commonality is that these territories are living relics of imperialism that have transformed into unique communities. It makes no more sense for Britain to demand the transfer of Ceuta and Melilla to Morroco than it does Spain the transfer of Gibraltar to themselves. Context, perhaps, is in the eye of the beholder.

Blue flys to the reds It will now be even easier to travel between Alicante-Elche Airport and Liverpool in future. To add to the services already run by Ryanair and EasyJet, Blue Air has begun operate three days a week with flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Blue Air’s inclusion on the Alicante to Liverpool route increases the number of flights on offer from the UK to more than 4,925,000 for the forthcoming summer season – an increase of 17.2% on last year and shows no effect from foreign currency fluctuations or Brexit. AENA – the operators of Alicante-Elche Airport – confirmed that the arrival of the first flight from Blue Air – a Boeing 737 – was greeted with the traditional ‘bow of water’ from the airport firefighters reserved for when a new company’s aircraft lands. Blue Air has been operating for 13 years and now offers flights to 70+ scheduled destinations in Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, under its own brand and with the slogan “Follow your dreams and fly”, Blue Air operates charter flights on behalf of leading tour operators and holiday destinations throughout Europe and West Asia, mainly the Mediterranean region.

Soltimes Costa Blanca - Issue 475  


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