Did we really cede The Rock? Spain’s strategic options for Gibraltar 300 years after the Treaty of Utrecht

Alejandro del Valle Gálvez

The 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht is an opportune moment to reflect on the legal framework of this longstanding dispute, its current relevance, the prevailing differences, the possibilities of finding common ground in order to reach an agreement, and on the way in which the parties use legal concepts and institutions for their own interests. Following changes in the three Governments between 2011 and 2012, the Gibraltar question is currently marked by a situation of structural crisis, given the grave doubts concerning the bilateral legal framework as well as that of the United Nations. In addition, the traditional tenets of Spanish policy on Gibraltar have been called into question. Spain needs to reassess its strategies with regard to Gibraltar, which requires the reopening of bilateral negotiations that are prepared to take an imaginative approach in their search for solutions, and to consider the option of finding a judicial solution, which would be a high risk alternative. Having ruled out the renewal of the dialogue Forum established in 2004, the strategic options are limited, although a series of tactical approaches are always possible. This article also questions whether the cession of the city of Gibraltar under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht automatically included the cession of The Rock or not, which would have implications for the theory of the «Costa Seca» (dry coast) doctrine defended by Spain.

1. INTRODUCCIÓN. «GIBRALTAR NO ES ESPAÑOL».—2. LA DELIMITACIÓN Y DEMARCACIÓN DEL TERRITORIO CEDIDO POR EL TRATADO DE UTRECHT, URBIS & ARCIS GIBRALTAR.—2.1. La validez del Tratado de Utrecht.—2.2. La delimitación del territorio cedido. La montaña, el istmo, las aguas de Gibraltar.—2.3. La demarcación del territorio cedido.—3. POSICIONES Y CONTRADICCIONES DE ESPAÑA, REINO UNIDO Y GIBRALTAR.—3.1. Posiciones y contradicciones de España.—3.2. Posiciones y contradicciones de Reino Unido y Gibraltar.—4. LA CRISIS DE LOS MARCOS JURÍDICOS DE LA CONTROVERSIA.—5. OPCIONES Y ESTRATEGIAS POLÍTICAS Y JUDICIALES PARA ESPAÑA.—5.1. Los intereses en presencia ante cualquier opción estratégica.—5.2. Reactivación del Foro de Diálogo sobre Gibraltar.—5.3. La solución judicial.—5.4. Negociación bilateral y búsqueda imaginativa de soluciones.—6. CONCLUSIONES

Brussels Process; Decolonization; Gibraltar; Self-determination; Treaty of Utrecht; Trilateral Forum of Dialogue; United Nations;

REDI Vol. LXV 2 2013



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