Gibraltar simply not an issue for Spaniards, leading think tank poll confirms - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Gibraltar simply not an issue for Spaniards, leading think tank poll confirms

Friday, 6 July 2012
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.

The Spanish government should be far more concerned with its soaring levels of unemployment and the frightening statistic that the country’s youth unemployment is now more than 50%.

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