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King Felipe of Spain slams the UK in UN address: Give back Gibraltar!

“I invite the UK, on this first occasion at the UN after Brexit, to end the colonial anachronism of Gibraltar with an agreed solution between both countries to restore the territorial integrity of Spain and bring benefits to the people of Gibraltar and the Spanish area of Campo de Gibraltar.” These were the words of His Majesty King Felipe of Spain during his speech at the United Nations in September last year.

The Secretary-General with H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain. Photo Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The King of Spain’s demands in September were met with strong criticism from many Britons. The British overseas territory was quick to fire back. A spokesperson for the territory said in the Gibraltar Chronicle: “This is not 1704 when Britain conquered Gibraltar, or 1713 when Spain ceded it by treaty forever. This is 2016, when what matters most is the right of people, however small, to determine their own future.

“It is regrettable that the mentality in official circles in Spain remains stuck in the 18th century,” the spokesman said in September.

Representatives from the British government said the day after King Felipe’s speech: “Madrid has still not come to terms with having lost Gibraltar over 300 years ago, and it’s time they realised that they are never going to get it back.”

In Spain, however, the King’s speech was received with great enthusiasm. Spain’s acting Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, told the radio channel Onda Cero: “It’s a complete change of outlook that opens up new possibilities on Gibraltar not seen for a very long time. I hope the formula of co-sovereignty – to be clear, the Spanish flag on the Rock – is much closer than before,” the minister said.

Gibraltar. Photo: Flickr: Gibraltar via Wikimedia Commons.

Although this happened several months ago, this marks a conflict that will escalate as a result of Britain’s decision to exit out of the European Union. The fact that a sitting monarch marks himself in such a political way and as powerfully as the King Felipe did, indicate that this is a problem that the Spanish government will search for a solution that runs in Spain’s favour. At a time when much is changing in the world, this may result in the relationship between the two kingdoms being worse than ever before.

King Juan Carlos visited the UK on an official state visit in 1986, while the last time Queen Elizabeth travelled to Spain on a official state visit was in October 1988.

King Felipe’s speech is below:

  • Joe_Pubic

    Please, how about Spain also receding it’s disputed land at Ceuta and Melilla?
    Morocco wants them back. However Spain looks at it differently.
    The UN stance on both the Spanish enclaves and Gibraltar at at odds with it’s own definition. So that does not help either UK ; Spain or Morocco.
    However why do both Ceuta and Melilla return deputies and senators to the Spanish parliament in Madrid.They are fact of colonialism, more then the self governing Gib.

    • Joe_Pubic

      May add why not give back Cataluña to the Catalans on the same principle?

      • Negociatorus

        Well ok, you give us gibraltar, we give the catalans Catalunya but you lets Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Cornwall free

        • curmudge33

          exactly. that would be the correct analogy. i know scotland is dying to get out from the brits’ armpit. they already got lucky in the past when they didnt get conquered by us

        • Joe_Pubic

          now you are being really really stupid, are you not?

  • Howard T

    I thought they had a constitutional monarchy in Spain? If so, should the monarch be involving himself in politics? I think not. UK has had Gibraltar for 300 years and the Gibraltarians like it that way. So sorry your Majesty but NO.

    • Carl Rutledge

      True but if you think the British queen is not involved in politics would be a blind eye.

      • Howard T

        Then I take it you are NOT British. Our Queen is advised by her Prime Minister and the Privy Council but is NOT involved in politics. She is a Constitutional Monarch and is strictly non-political.

        • Joe_Pubic

          like she once do not express her views on Brexit 😉

  • Michael Snow

    Hey, I think you all over in the USA out to come back with us in the UK too. How about it?

  • Valter Moraes

    I wish the king of Spain were FERDINAND OF CASTILLA.

  • Antonio Carmona Santos

    …And Olivença, from Portugal 1801 when they were allies of Napoleon… Portugal never defined the borders with Spain in that extension of border till today. At the end of the hostilities, Vienna 1815, they were obliged to return it but never did.
    If UK return Gibraltar the issue will pop up strongly again. For Portugal, Olivença (Olivenza in Spanish) is his territory and is part of Alentejo.

  • Mateo Calafat

    Thank you Sir, for sharing your views on Gibraltar from overseas.

  • Frankie J

    The Channel Islands don’t have a complicated relationship with France. They have the same relationship with France that they have with any other EU country.

  • Bob Wilkinson

    I didn’t know they had airports when the treaty was signed

  • El Tarik

    And I invite the King of Spain to read what happened in 1713 when:

    “The Catholic King does hereby, for himself, his heirs and
    successors, yield to the Crown of Great Britain the full and
    entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together
    with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging; and
    he gives up the said propriety to be held and enjoyed absolutely
    with all manner of right for ever, without any exception or
    impediment whatsoever.”

    Gibraltar is NOT ‘a Colony’ its not been Spanish for over 300 years and its not going to be Spanish manana or the day after. Thank you for your interest and goodbye.

  • Paul Sexton

    Obviously the King should take a leaf out of the Queen’s book and keep his nose out of politics and things he knows little about,
    Gibraltar has chosen to remain British and that’s the end of the story!

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