Would autonomous city status in La Linea benefit Gibraltar?

Mark Viales

Brexit is at our doorstep and there is nowhere to hide. Later this month the UK and Spain will lock horns in crunch talks relating to Gibraltar and its future relationship with Spain. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo is adamant that the Rock could turn the Brexit tragedy on its head and seek new innovative opportunities from the seemingly endless saga.

This uncertain optimism has made its way across the border into the mind of La Linea’s Mayor, Juan Franco The outspoken Spanish politician leads the La Linea 100x100 party, whose main political ideology is to become an autonomous city like Ceuta and Melilla. His crusade for this special status could spark his city’s exit from the Andalusian Government, while still remaining part of the province of Cádiz.

“If Brexit is unstoppable, at least we should get something out of it,” Franco told Spanish reporters at a press conference last week. “And we cannot ignore one of our electoral commitments that seeks to start the process to become an autonomous city. We await a government to be formed in Spain shortly and we can then have an interlocutor to address in this regard.”

“One of the fundamental points is that we will have to fully carry out the request for authorisation of the popular consultation and that authorisation must be given to us by a council of ministers," he added.

More in Panorama print edition.

20-01-2020 PANORAMAdailyGIBRALTAR.