“Gibraltar can no longer be a tax haven in today’s Europe”

Rocky relations prevent British colony from sharing tax information with Spain, says Chief Minister Fabian Picardo

Luis Gómez
Gibraltar -
Gibraltar's chief minister, Fabian Picardo.
Gibraltar's chief minister, Fabian Picardo.García Cordero (EL PAÍS)

Bad relations between Spain and Gibraltar prevent the British colony from sharing tax information and other financial data with Madrid as it does with other European nations, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in an interview published on Monday in EL PAÍS.

Nevertheless, Picardo, who was elected 2011, explained that Gibraltar is no longer a haven for tax dodgers because "that model doesn't fit in with today’s Europe."

"We are ready to reach an agreement for an exchange of information but unfortunately Spain doesn't want to accept that Gibraltar has the jurisdiction to sign such an agreement when that authority should be delegated to Great Britain," Picardo explained.

The 41-year-old leader of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party bemoaned the fact that Spain's ruling Popular Party has "refused to comply with the agreements" hammered out in the tripartite forum between the previous Spanish administration, Gibraltar and Britain. One of these treaties prevents Andalusian fishermen from trawling near the waters of the British colony, which are not recognized by Spain, he said. Trawling is illegal in Gibraltar.

Picardo claims that Gibraltar's economy has grown between five and 10 percent without having to adjust spending or introduce other austerity measures. "Why? It's not because Gibraltar knows how to do things better than anyone else, but because we are a small economy. So when we see something going wrong, it is easy to adjust."

The chief minister also rejects the idea that his colony has to depend on Britain for revenue, claiming that it is self-sufficient. "Gibraltar doesn't ask for one penny from Britain."

When asked about Gibraltar’s reputation as a tax haven, Picardo said: “That’s all over. It is an old model which does not have any place in today’s Europe, or even today’s world.”

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