La Treizième Étoile: 19/02/12 - 26/02/12 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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'Gibraltar will decide its own future' - PM forced to repeat message to Rajoy himself

Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was in London today meeting his UK counterpart David Cameron at 10 Downing Street and whilst the discussion was meant to be solely economic in nature, the new Spanish Government's demands over Gibraltar sovereignty talks and reverting to the Brussels Process was raised, and again dismissed by Mr Cameron.

Speaking afterwards, an official spokesman at Number 10 told reporters: “there was some conversation about Gibraltar... It was raised by the Spanish. There was a recognition that we take a different view on that issue, but it should not get in the way of our broader relationship.

Mr Rajoy left the meeting declaring that both leaders hold “different positions but we will talk in the futurethe Gibraltar Chronicle reports, but Mr Cameron was blunter in his words, repeating once again that “it is for the people of Gibraltar themselves to determine their future. We wouldn’t engage in any discussions about Gibraltar that the Gibraltarians didn’t want us to engage in”.

In reaction, the Rock’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, also in London that day for talks, welcomed the robust approach taken by the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary “in the face of the intransigent Spanish insistence on the anachronistic claim over the sovereignty of the Rock and the clamour for the revival of the ‘dead and buried’ Brussels Process position”.

David Cameron gets it, knows what the issues are and he does Gibraltar proud in the way he portrays diplomatically and clearly Gibraltar’s position to the Spanish Government,” Mr Picardo said.

The already repetitive nature of this tale is already boring me, but unfortunately I fear it may continue for the foreseeable future...

Read also: 'Wrong Question, Wrong Time' (Gibraltar Viewpoint, 24/02)

UPDATE (25/02): According to Merco Press, at the end of a conference held in London on Thursday on the subject of Somalia, Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo affirmed his hope the next session of the UN General Assembly will debate the Gibraltar issue and ultimately “express support for negotiations”.

Mr Garcia-Margallo, whose 'Gibraltar, Español!' quip in Strasbourg last month angered the Rock, said that in light of the current conflicts over sovereignty of the territories of the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar the reasonable thing is for the UN to discuss both issues in its coming general assembly. “There’s no need for a prophet or a Pulitzer Prize to know that in the coming UN session, Malvinas [Falklands] and Gibraltar will be discussed and that the UN will again reiterate that we must sit and negotiate," he is reported to have said.

It would appear that Spain, facing a stone wall in the form of British government policy, is looking to take the issue to an international level to gain credibility for its foolish venture of negotiating the sovereignty of Gibraltar without excluding the voice of all those citizens that call the Rock their home. I hope it fails.

European Parliament committee and delegations appointments confirmed: how have our South West MEPs fared?

Sunday, 19 February 2012
The European Parliament's legislative work is carried out by 20 standing committees and two sub-committees, each of which elects a chair and four vice-chairs. Two weeks ago in Brussels, concluding much horse-trading between the political groups over positions, the political groupings allocated MEPs to committees and each parliamentary committees nominated and elected their Chair and Vice-Chairs for the next two and a half years until the end of the 7th parliamentary term. This week in Strasbourg, the composition and heads of the parliamentary delegations were also confirmed.

As the dust settles, here is how our region’s representatives have come out of the negotiations and nominations:

  • Ashley Fox retains one of the Vice-Chair positions in the Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) committee, retains his membership to the delegation to the Arab Peninsula and substitute membership of the delegation to China.

  • Julie Girling becomes a full member of the Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) committee, but steps down from member to substitute member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee and retains substitute membership of Fisheries (PECH) committee. Retains both delegation memberships, but is no longer a substitute on the Employment (EMPL) committee.

  • Giles Chichester retains a Vice-Chair position in the delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament, and membership of two committees and two further delegations, but had to surrender his position as European Parliament Vice President as fellow Brit Martin Callanan became leader of the ECR group.

  • Sir Graham Watson retains the Chair of the delegation for India, membership of the Foreign Affairs (AFET) committee, and substitute membership of the delegations to China and to South East Asia. His substitute membership of the Fisheries (PECH) committee has been swapped for substitute membership of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee.

  • The Earl of Dartmouth gains a substitute membership of the Foreign Affairs (AFET) committee in addition to retaining his membership of the International Trade (INTA) committee.

  • Trevor Colman – no change. At all.

Parliamentary Committees:

Parliamentary Delegations:

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Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.