An interesting opinion poll in Spain is making headlines despite the fact it confirms what has been said for a long time, namely: Gibraltar is simply not an issue for Spaniards
Carried out by the highly regarded Spanish think tank Real Instituto Elcano
, the survey of 1000 people found that nearly 60% of those polled believe Gibraltar is of little or no importance to Spanish foreign policy.
The survey also found that Spaniards were divided on how their government should handle the current row over fishing in Gibraltar waters
: over 44% of those asked said steps should be taken to reduce the tension, while 10% said more diplomatic pressure should be brought to be on Gibraltar.
As expected in such a poll on such a subject, the answers were clearly dependent on the political ideology of the respondent. For supporters of the governing right-wing Partido Popular, 50% believe that the dispute over Gibraltar is quite or very important in Spain’s foreign policy, but this percentage drops to 32% amongst voters of the centre and dips even lower to 30 per cent amongst those on the left.
The Partido Popular
party won the last elections in Spain with a manifesto that included a sentence on Gibraltar: “En relación al contencioso de Gibraltar, recuperaremos el proceso de Bruselas
” (Translation: ‘In relations to Gibraltar, we will return to the Brussels process
’). This intention
– to return to a negotiation arrangement long rejected by Gibraltar as it concerns talks on sovereignty without giving them a voice - has been affirmed on repeated occasions but rejected immediately by the Gibraltarian government.