Spain’s acting Foreign Minister has been criticised after threatening to restart moves to take Gibraltar if Britain votes to leave the European Union (EU).
José Maul García-Margallo said in an interview with Radio Nacional de España that “we’ll be talking about Gibraltar the very next day” if Britons vote to leave the EU on 23 June.
The rock on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula has been British since 1704, although Spain still claims sovereignty over it.
Pro-Brexit critics are likely to brand the threat another example of “Project Fear” from European leaders who are desperate to keep Britain in the EU.
In fact, it is looking increasingly likely that Spain will not be in a position to act when the British referendum comes. The country is currently without a permanent government after inconclusive elections in December gave no party a majority.
Mr Margallo, who was Foreign Minister in the outgoing People’s Party government, remains in his post until a new government is formed, but the country remains in political paralysis.
UKIP MEP Julia Reid told The Express: “Gibraltar has nothing to fear, any move for the outpost, which is as British as Britain itself, would be repelled, as every attempt has been for hundreds of years.
“And even if Britain votes to leave the EU, it doesn’t make any difference, Gibraltar will still be British territory and that’s that.
“It sounds more like an old communique from Buenos Aires, rather than a new one from Madrid.”
Last week, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron threatened to flood Britain with migrants from Calais by ending border controls if the country votes to leave the EU.
“The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais and the financial passport would work less well,” he told the Financial Times.
Politico.eu also reported on how German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said he would “cry” if Britain leaves the EU. The comments provoked laughter at the British Chambers of Commerce panel debate where he was speaking, the website says.