As the EU referendum becomes a major focus of media attention, journalists from across Europe are looking at Gibraltar as a unique participant in the British poll. The only polling stations outside the United Kingdom will, of course, be those in Gibraltar – and time-zone differences mean they will open an hour before those in UK.
In its press release, the Govt explain that the media have also realised that the issues facing Gibraltar in the context of the referendum are different to those facing the UK, and there has been a stream of journalists asking to interview the Chief Minister. Mr Picardo was interviewed in London by the BBC Daily Politics Show and by Sky News: he has also been interviewed in Gibraltar by BBC World Service radio, who also used the interview to produce a high profile article for the BBC’s online magazine.
Over the last few days, the Chief Minister has given interviews to the Press Association and to Agence France-Presse both of whom have ‘wire services’ which are picked up by broadcasters and newspapers throughout the world. Mr Picardo’s piece in The Times was followed by an editorial column in the same newspaper and on Friday of this week, the influential Bloomberg website carried an article in which the Chief Minister was quoted. It is also likely that a major article on Gibraltar will appear in this week’s Sunday Express. There is now an ever-lengthening queue of journalists waiting to speak to the Chief Minister on the subject of the referendum and the possible impacts on Gibraltar.
As 23rd June approaches it is likely that, increasingly, Gibraltar will feature across the front pages of the European media. Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar welcomes this heightened interest in Gibraltar in the months leading up to the Referendum, which presents us with a historical decision to make that will affect Gibraltar, the UK and Europe as a whole.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC, said: ‘The Government has made it very clear that we are advocating a vote to remain in Europe, and will be actively campaigning towards this in the lead-up to the June 23rd Referendum. This is not a party-political issue and I am pleased that Gibraltar’s entire political spectrum has come out in support of the Stay IN Europe campaign. As Chief Minister, I will of course be actively lobbying both locally and internationally, and welcome the heightened media interest in the unique consequences that, potentially, the Referendum may have for us here in Gibraltar. Clearly Europe is as interested in us as we are in Europe’.