' WE WANT BRITAIN TO STAY'
As Britain faces its most important vote in many years, acting Foreign Affairs Minister José Manuel García-Margallo talks exclusively to CBNews on the referendum, its consequences and other important issues.
By CBNews team How would you define the current state of relations between Spain and Great Britain?
Bilateral relations between Spain and the UK are very close. As figures prove:
Spanish exports to the UK in 2015 were in excess of 18billion euros, while imports from Britain reached 12billion.
The UK is the sixth country in the world where Spain has most investment and the third country with the highest investment in Spain (2014 figures).
The UK is the country that sends most tourists to Spain, with 15 million British citizens visiting the country in 2014.
There are a huge number of British residents in Spain and Spaniards living the UK.
What would you like to see, and what is your opinion, regarding a possible Brexit after the June 23 referendum?
We want to loyally contribute towards helping the UK remain as a member of the EU and we trust that the agreement reached by the European Council in February will allow the British people to choose to remain, respecting its principles and the fundamental values of the union.
The British expat community on the Costa Blanca is very concerned about the consequences of a possible Brexit. How would this affect British citizens living in Spain? And what measures have been planned to continue providing services such as healthcare and education to Britons who would then become non-EU residents?
In the hypothetical event of the referendum supporting the Leave option, a two-year period would begin for negotiating the new relationship between the EU and the UK based on article 50 of the EU Treaty.
In the event of a Brexit, you have already stated your wish to have joint sovereignty over Gibraltar. Is that correct?
The EU treaties are currently applied to Gibraltar as a colonial territory with foreign affairs handled by the UK. If Britain leaves, that situation disappears and Gibraltar would no longer be within the EU to all effects, including the common market
he only gateway for it to enter the common market and enjoy the privilege of freedom of movement would be to reconsider the old idea of a joint British-Spanish sovereignty for several years, respecting the singular status of the citizens of Gibraltar and respecting its economic status for several years.
Would a Brexit be the beginning of the end of the EU?
There’s no doubt that a Brexit would be harmful for Europe, because its means a serious amputation of the European project, but not its end. As I have said on previous occasions, the solution implies ‘more Europe’.
The ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry for the interior are most involved in the fight against terrorism. In recent months, the British media has pointed at Spain and the tourism resorts as the main targets for Daesh (Islamic State). Is there any truth in this? Is Spain still a safe holiday destination for British tourists?
In Spain we have well-prepared security forces and intelligence agencies specialised in the prevention of Jihadist terrorism. It is their duty to evaluate the risk of terror attacks and adopt measures to neutralise them, and they do a very good job. I am fully aware that the relevant authorities regularly analyse this risk and provide the necessary countermeasures.
Sadly, no one is safe from the terrorist threat, wherever you are in the world. We have just seen it in Orlando. We have
Sr García-Margallo on Alicante's esplanade this week before his interview with CBNews