As Britain celebrates its 300th anniversary of military occupation in Gibraltar, Spain takes the opportunity to criticize the situation.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos expressed "profound disappointment" when he heard that UK Defense Minister Geoff Hoon, along with a military parade of 300, will attend the ceremonies to celebrate 300 years of British rule in Gibraltar. "It is very strange that, in the European Union of the 21st century, one member state should be celebrating the military occupation of part of another member state," he said. London responded that it has a "good relationship" with Madrid.
Spain would like to restart negotiations over the British colony but London believes the people have made their views clear and is unwilling to go against the wishes of the population, 99 percent of whom said in an unofficial referendum they would rather remain under British rule.
The disagreement over the tiny territory has been a thorn in the side of UK-Spanish relations since it was seized by the British in 1704, and is a signal of a shift from the UK-Spanish axis that emerged during Jose Maria Aznar's premiership. Current Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapetero has made it clear that he wants Spain to move away from the UK. "France and Germany are the two decisive countries for the European construction and Spain should be there," he said. (EUobserver.com)