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COUNTRY PROFILES


PROFILE

Status: British Overseas Territory
Area: 6.5 sq km
Population: 29,441 (Abstract of Statistics 2010)
Capital city: Gibraltar
Languages: English
Religion(s): Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism
Currency: Gibraltar Pound
Political parties represented in Parliament: Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party, Liberal Party, Gibraltar Social Democrats
Governor: Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns KCB, CBE
Chief Minister: The Hon Fabian Picardo
All statistics have been taken from http://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/statistics (http://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/statistics)

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ECONOMY

Basic economic facts

GDP: £954.11 million (2010)
GDP per capita: £32,415 (2010)
GNP per capita: £23,810 (2008)
Inflation: 3.5% (2010)
Major industries: Financial Services, Tourism, Shipping/Manufacturing
Exchange rate: Equivalent to sterling
Gibraltar has a thriving economy dominated by four main sectors – financial services, internet gaming, shipping and tourism (including retail for visitors). Since 1978 the economy has undergone major changes – a significant reduction in MOD activities, closure of the Royal Naval Dockyard, re-opening of the border with Spain (which dramatically altered the pattern of tourist/visitor expenditure) and significant growth in the financial sector. Gibraltar has adapted quickly and, according to a recent econometric study [specify], has a resilience hard to equal elsewhere in the world.

The MoD used to employ over 20% of the labour force but now only employs around 3. [% and contributes about 7% of GDP. Financial Services currently accounts for about 22% of GDP, shipping 20% and retail/tourism 25%. [source] Although figures are not readily available, internet gaming accounts for an increasing percentage of Gibraltar’s GDP. So, although the financial services sector is by no means the major employer, it is the major economic driver. Offshore financial activities, including 8,464 Exempt Companies are also fundamental in generating income and providing new jobs.

Gibraltar's financial sector is regulated by a Financial Services Commission (FSC), made up of UK and Gibraltar senior financial experts. The Commission is headed by its Chief Executive, appointed by the members of the Financial Services Commission. The tourism industry has grown rapidly over the past 15 years and Gibraltar received in excess of 10 million visitors per annum in 2009, an increase of over 8% from the previous recording breaking year (Government of Gibraltar), who spend over £248 million between them. The majority are cross-border day visitors – 7.48 million in 2006 alone. Numbers for visitors arriving by sea and air are significantly lower - 165,000 visitors arrived by air (many head straight into Spain) . The number of cruise liner passengers visiting the Rock has increased from 275,993 in 2007 to 309,379 in 2008, representing a 12% rise. (Cruise ships are usually in port for less than 12 hours).

Overnight visitors represent a small percentage of Gibraltar’s tourism industry, only 70,000 visitors in 2006, staying on average 3 days. Hotel occupancy is generally low (60.6% in 2008).

Gibraltar’s economy is growing at a rate of about 9% per annum, high by European standards. There is, however, the continued uncertainty resulting from the sovereignty dispute with Spain which inhibits the exploitation of full potential and deters some would-be investors, in spite of Gibraltar’s (much improved) reputation as a well-regulated, off-shore financial and business centre.

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HISTORY

On 4 August 1704 Admiral Sir George Rooke, in command of an Anglo-Dutch fleet landed at Gibraltar, overcame its Spanish garrison and established a British military base. Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht. A series of further treaties between 1729 and 1763 confirmed this. The Spanish made a number of attempts to recover the Rock by force up until 1783. In 1830 Gibraltar became a Crown Colony and increasingly important to British defence and commercial interests. Due to its strategic position it played an important role during the Second World War (when the civilian population was evacuated), particularly in the Allied landings in North Africa in 1942.

Since 1783 Spain has continued to lay claim to the sovereignty of Gibraltar by non-military means, culminating in the closure of the border in 1969. The border closure was triggered by adoption of the current Gibraltar Constitution and followed a majority vote to remain under British sovereignty in a referendum held in 1967. An Order in Council in 1969 established a Constitution with responsibility for certain matters (termed Defined Domestic Matters) being devolved to an elected Government of Gibraltar while the Governor retained other responsibilities (principally those for external affairs, defence and internal security). The Preamble to the Constitution Order stated that HMG would never allow the people of Gibraltar to pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes.

In 1980 full restoration of communications was agreed at a meeting of British and Spanish Foreign Ministers in Lisbon, although the border was not fully reopened until 1985. The 1984 Brussels Communiqué, issued jointly by the UK and Spain, established a process of negotiations known as the 'Brussels Process'. This enabled both sides to discuss a range of Gibraltar-related issues, including sovereignty. At a Brussels Process meeting in December 1997, the then Spanish Foreign Minister, Abel Matutes, proposed temporary joint British and Spanish sovereignty over Gibraltar before sovereignty would revert to Spain. There was considerable public and political opposition to these proposals in Gibraltar. At the next Brussels Process meeting on 26 July 2001, Ministers agreed that the Matutes proposals were not an acceptable basis for discussion and agreed to set them aside and look to the future. Further meetings took place in Barcelona on 20 November 2001 and in London on 4 February 2002.

On 12 July 2002, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told Parliament that the people of Gibraltar would have the ultimate say on future sovereignty arrangements in a UK-organised referendum. As a reaction to the 12 July statement, the Government of Gibraltar organised their own referendum on the principle of joint sovereignty with Spain. There was an 88% turnout, with 98.5% voting against any sharing of sovereignty with Spain.

On 27 October 2004, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Spain and the United Kingdom, Miguel Angel Moratinos and Jack Straw, met in Madrid. During their meeting they agreed to consider and consult further on how to establish a new forum for dialogue on Gibraltar, with an open agenda, in which Gibraltar would have its own voice.

Three Trilateral Ministerial meetings have been held:
-- On 18 September 2006, at the Palacio de Viana in Cordoba. Geoff Hoon, Minister for Europe, represented the UK, while Foreign Minister Moratinos and Chief Minister Peter Caruana represented Spain and Gibraltar respectively. At the meeting, a landmark agreement was reached on a range of issues. These included: telecommunications; the expanded use of Gibraltar Airport; the improvement of pedestrian and traffic flows at the border crossing between Gibraltar and Spain; and a settlement on pensions that would provide a fair deal for those Spanish citizens who lost their livelihoods when the border between Spain and Gibraltar closed in 1969.

-- On 2 July 2008 at Lancaster House in London. Participants reviewed and welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the Cordoba Statements. The meeting set out six new areas of cooperation: on the environment; financial services and taxation; judicial, customs and police cooperation; education; maritime communications and visa-related issues.

-- On 21st July 2009 in Gibraltar. Participants agreed the details of future co-operation on the six areas agreed the previous year.

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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Gibraltar is within the European Union by virtue of Article355(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However, under the UK's Act of Accession, Gibraltar is excluded from four areas of EU policy: the Common Customs Territory and Common Commercial Policy (and thus EU rules on the free movement of goods, do not apply); the Common Agricultural Policy; the Common Fisheries Policy; and the requirement to levy VAT. Gibraltarians have rights of free movement within the EU. While the UK Government is ultimately responsible under the Treaty for the implementation of EULaw in Gibraltar, EU measures are usually implemented within the territory by means of local legislation enacted by the Gibraltar legislature.

The Gibraltar electorate voted for the first time in the European Parliament elections in June 2004. 57.54% of Gibraltarians voted. The franchise for European elections was extended to the Gibraltar electorate in order to comply with a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in February 1999. This objective was achieved by means of the European Parliament Representation Act 2003, which received Royal Assent on 8 May 2003, and accompanying regulations. These provided for the creation of a new electoral region combining Gibraltar with the existing South West England electoral region. The constitutional nature and relationship of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar remained unchanged.

Gibraltar's representation in the UK

The Government of Gibraltar has a London Office at:
150 The Strand
London
WC2R 1JA
Tel: 020 7836 0777
Fax: 020 7240 6612
Email: info@gibraltar.gov.uk (info@gibraltar.gov.uk)

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GEOGRAPHY

The peninsula that is Gibraltar is in Europe, bordering the Strait of Gibraltar on the southern coast of Spain. The Strait of Gibraltar links the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.

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POLITICS

Constitutional status

Gibraltar has a considerable measure of devolved government.

The 1969 Gibraltar Constitution Order formalised the devolution to local Ministers of responsibility for a wide range of 'Defined Domestic Matters'. The Governor, the personal representative of HM The Queen, retained direct responsibility for all matters not specifically allocated to local Ministers.

On, 30 November 2006, following negotiations between the UK and Gibraltar, a new Constitution was approved by over 60% of those who voted in a referendum. The “2006 Constitution” came into force on 2 January 2007. It modernises the UK-Gibraltar relationship. The Governor remains responsible for external affairs, defence, internal security and ensuring good government, including through public appointments. The Government of Gibraltar has responsibility for all areas not specifically assigned to the Governor, thereby giving Gibraltar much greater control over its internal affairs.

The current Governor is Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns KCB, CBE. He took up his appointment on 26 October 2009. Gibraltar's legislature, the Parliament, consists of a Speaker and 17 members. Elections take place every four years. British Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens, British Overseas Citizens and British Subjects who fulfil residence requirements, who are over 18 years of age and who are not subject to any legal incapacity, are entitled to vote.

The territory consists of a single constituency. Each voter may vote for up to 10 candidates. The last elections were held on 8 December 2011. The current Chief Minister of Gibraltar is Fabian Picardo. Mr Picardo is the leader of the alliance of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP) and the Liberal Party who hold an absolute majority (ten seats) in the Parliament. The leader of the Liberal Party, Dr Joseph Garcia, is Deputy Chief Minister. The seven other seats are held by the Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD), led by Peter Caruana (Chief Minister from 1996 to 2011).

Government

Governor's Office

His Excellency, The Governor and Commander-in-Chief: Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns KBE, CBE
The Convent
Gibraltar
Tel: (00)(350) 20045440
Fax: (00)(350) 20047823
Email: Enquiry.Gibraltar@fco.gov.uk (Enquiry.Gibraltar@fco.gov.uk)

Chief Minister's Office

Chief Minister: The Hon Fabian Picardo
No 6 Convent Place
Gibraltar
Tel: (00)(350) 20070071
Fax: (00)(350) 20076396

Other Ministers and their main responsibilities

Deputy Chief Minister: The Hon Dr Joseph Garcia
Health and Environment: The Hon Dr John Cortes
Housing and the Elderly: The Hon Charles Bruzon
Equality and Social Services: The Hon Samantha Sacramento
Education, Financial Services, Gaming, Telecommunications and Justice: The Hon Gilbert Licudi
Enterprise Training and Employment: The Hon Joe Bossano
Tourism, Public Transport and the Port: The Hon Neil Costa
Traffic, Health & Safety and Technical Services: The Hon Paul Balban
Sports, Culture, Heritage and Youth: The Hon Stephen Linares

Elections

The next elections are due to be called by early 2016.

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HUMAN RIGHTS

Overseas Territories are expected to comply with their obligations under the international human rights instruments that have been extended to them. The following major Conventions apply in Gibraltar:

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

-- International Covenant on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

-- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT)

-- UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

The UK is encouraging Gibraltar to accept the extension of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at the earliest opportunity. The Government of Gibraltar has expressed its willingness to extend the latter, as well as its Optional Protocol, subject to the necessary legislation being passed.

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Last Updated: December 2011

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