Picardo’s first official visit to La Linea

Mark Viales
Picardo’s first official visit to La Linea

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo yesterday announced plans to jointly mark with La Linea the 50th anniversary of the closure of the frontier by Spain.

This was Mr Picardo’s first official visit to La Linea’s town council where, alongside Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, he met with Mayor of La Linea Juan Franco and his team.

Mr Picardo said it was a ‘great irony’ that in 2019 Gibraltar will leave the EU and at the same time it will be 50 years since the closure of the frontier.

“I think that the two cities that were most affected by that closure should be the ones to condemn that moment and celebrate that today the frontier is open and remains as such,” he said during a press conference held in a cramped office lined with local and Spanish journalists. “We want to work together to make that commemoration adequate and appropriate.”

Both the Chief Minister and Sr Franco spoke of enacting more cultural and sportive exchanges between both towns and converting yesterday’s meeting into something that is seen as normal.

“That is essential for us,” Mr Picardo said. “We continue working together to create normality between Gibraltar and La Linea.”


But the desperation was evident in Sr Franco’s comments on how La Linea has been ‘forgotten’ by Madrid and suggested that a referendum might be the only way to get some attention.

“Maybe what we need to do is what the Catalans did, a referendum on independence with affiliation to Gibraltar,” he said. “Maybe they would listen to us more, I don’t know.”

Indeed, one Spanish journalist from La Linea was so enthused by the suggestion that he said he would be the first one to support such a measure.