Europeans blinded by Spanish anti-Gibraltar propaganda

By Mark Viales in Mexico

Why is there so little sympathy or knowledge for our cause and right to self-determination amongst most Europeans who are aware of the Rock’s existence?

Little is known of the Gibraltarians’ formulation as a people following the evacuation, notwithstanding the years of battling through Spanish oppression against Franco and thereafter. 

When it comes to Europe, Gibraltar is seen as either Spanish, or as a money laundering tax haven symbolizing the lasting remnants of British colonialism.


Since the time of the dictator, a campaign of poisonous propaganda across the Iberian Peninsula, eventually spreading further afield, has clouded the perception over Gibraltar.

Today, it is not uncommon to witness Spanish media reports on smuggling on the Strait depicting images of the Rock, despite no Gibraltarian connection with the crime.

Furthermore, reports attacking the favourable corporate tax regime and attributing it as a blight to the economic growth of the Campo area have strengthened the scorn.

This criticism comes about despite the Rock providing jobs for thousands of Spanish cross-frontier workers and conducting business with countless companies across the Iberian Peninsula.

Sadly, most EU countries take their news on Gibraltar from Spanish sources that are filtered and further distorted when arriving to audiences around the continent.

As one of Europe’s major powers, culturally if not economically, Spain’s sphere of influence over the perception of Gibraltar can be cast much further afield.

Strong influence within the EU, both in political and media circles, means Spain’s lobbyists can easily spread Franco-inspired messages on Gibraltar to Europe’s leaders and journalists.

So the little news filtering down to audiences around the continent is consequently, and unavoidably, layered with anti-Gibraltar propaganda that originates from Spanish sources.


When Gibraltar does pop up in mainstream media, especially within France and Germany, words such as ‘disputed colony’ or ‘tax haven’ are most commonly used.

This distribution of misinformation to Europeans subscribes to multiple sets of populist ideology, harnessing anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist sentiment, while also endearing supporters of Spain’s territorial integrity.

Traditionally amongst UK citizenship, it is most commonly those believing in Centre and Right Wing policies that support Gibraltar’s sovereignty and right to be British.

It turns out to be quite the opposite away from the British Isles, where those with the same train of thought instead stand in line with Spain’s argument.

It takes some history lesson to convince EU citizens that Gibraltar’s progression towards autonomy was born on Socialist values and that Spain is actually the oppressor.

Perhaps it is due to the disdain towards the UK’s colonial expansion along with her recent decision to exit the EU which has resulted in little support.


Gibraltar’s favourable corporate tax regime is consistently looked upon as unsavoury in Spain and in Europe, so it is no surprise that it was part of Brexit negotiations.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo denied that matters relating to tax would be put on the table in an interview with PANORAMA last October.

But an agreement was concluded covering tax transparency and cooperation the following month, even though it would not change Gibraltar’s corporate or luxury tax regimes.

The news around Europe on the protocols and memoranda of understanding between the UK and Spain on Gibraltar was not as detailed as on the Rock.

Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, pandered to the pockets of anti-Gibraltar voters and hailed the negotiations as a victory for Spain, a strong message meant to resonate beyond his borders.

The analysis from Spanish media gave wings to his rhetoric, not too dissimilar to the war of words used in Franco’s time, and soon it made international news.


The trading bloc’s efforts to dispose of unanimity in the vote for a centralised EU Wide Tax Agreement are seen as a blow for Ireland.

However, it extends well to the populist view to put an end to ‘unfair’ tax regimes, where Gibraltar may be considered as some, as well as Ireland, to fall under.

This news was also interpreted by numerous media outlets as a victory for Europe and was perhaps a first step in the aforementioned efforts to centralise European tax.

It remains unclear whether the UK will leave the EU with certain attachments, but a unification of tax would cause turmoil in Gibraltar, not to mention London.

A pretty penny is dropped into the wishing well that drives the promotion of the Rock as the number one jurisdiction for corporate and elite tax benefits.

One remains hopeful that the Finance Centre’s blossoming ‘money tree’ and its new golden branch that flowers crypto currency does not have a limited lifespan.

Otherwise, Gibraltar may be looking at mass unemployment and perhaps emigration of skilled personnel to other jurisdictions that would still be operating in financial services.

As it stands, Madrid believes the Rock is cornered on the political chessboard and Brexit has edged her further away from her queen as the final moves are set.

Spain’s propaganda has successfully infiltrated the minds of Europe’s leaders and many are prepared to allow Sanchez’s government to fulfil an age-old fascist obsession.

There are growing fears that a no deal or a bad deal scenario could take place where Madrid may revert to a fascist regime towards the Rock.

But the pawn has been here before on numerous occasions and has stood tall to show the world that Gibraltar renounces Spain’s outdated claims and remains valiantly British.