A LEADING Cadiz university academic has predicted that Gibraltar’s neighbouring towns in Spain are ‘not ready’ for a no EU deal scenario.
Jesus Verdu, a lecturer at Cadiz university and vice-rector of its Campo de Gibraltar campus, contravened a statement by Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares.
Verdu said Spain and Andalucia’s governments have not planned ahead for this scenario which would ‘make everything worse’ for Campo people.
Albares said in Madrid that Spain and the EU were ‘ready for any outcome’ on January 1.
But Verdu wrote on January 5 that this was not the case in an opinion column of the Europa Sur newspaper in Algeciras.
While he believes the Spanish proposal is ‘comprehensive, reasonable and balanced’, he does not believe the UK want to accept it.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has sworn to protect Gibraltar interests in negotiations over the past two years.
And Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said his team are not satisfied with Spain’s proposal.
“In the event of a British rejection of the terms of the agreement, from my point of view the reality is that Spain is not prepared for a no-deal scenario,” Verdu wrote in Europa Sur.
“Perhaps, from a distance at the ministry and on an absolutely theoretical level, that position can be defended, but from the reality of Campo de Gibraltar the perspective is completely different.
“None of the administrations with powers, namely the State and the Andalusian Government, have adequately planned for the consequences of the departure.
“Nor have they articulated effective responses that help to alleviate the serious consequences of a structural situation of dependence of the Gibraltarian economy by an enormously vulnerable territory, weighed down by its dual status as a cross-border zone and with a significant public investment deficit.”
He added that while he knows ‘the agreement is not a magic wand’ for the lack of government investment, ‘everything will be worse’ when Gibraltar gets a hard Brexit.