Gibraltar: After 300 Years, Spain Would Like It Back

Gibraltar, a small rocky territory sticking out south off of Spain, is a territory of the United Kingdom. After three centuries, though, Spain would like it back. Rather than invade with armies or suing the UK government, they are taking a rather passive aggressive approach.

A diplomatic spat between the two nations came after recent policy changes were passed in Spain. These changes include more frequent border checks for people passing between Spain and Gibraltar, according to CNN. Because of this, transportation in and out of the UK territory has slowed significantly.

Spain says they are also considering a fee of 50 euros each time the border is crossed. This has concerned many, including British Prime Minister David Cameron. He is worried that Spain has decided to make these changes without consulting the UK. Cameron says that he and other British leaders are taking the issues surrounding Gibraltar seriously and will seek a diplomatic solution.

Despite this, most believe Spain’s latest moves are a passive aggressive jab at the UK. This has been denied, of course. Spanish officials say that the new fee for crossing the border would go to help fishermen. According to BBC News, they claim that authorities in Gibraltar have disrupted their fishing grounds with an artificial reef. The increased border checks, they say, are supposedly meant to catch smugglers.

After negotiations opened between the UK and Spain over possession of the territory in 2001 fell apart, Spain’s intentions have been clear: They want to see the southern territory rejoined to the Spanish mainland. The 2001 talks fell apart after an unofficial poll showed that over 99 percent of Gibraltar’s 30,000 residents wanted to remain a part of the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom gained the Gibraltar territory nearly 300 years ago, in 1704. The Treaty of Utrecht was soon signed, formally handing the territory to the UK.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says he will work hard to resolve these new diplomatic tensions, but says that the UK will not hand the Gibraltar territory over to Spain.

[Image via ShutterStock]