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Madrid closes Gibraltar language school as 'only apes don't speak Spanish'

The Cervantes centre was opened in 2011, as the former Spanish government of Socialist leader José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero fulfilled one of the elements of the Córdoba Agreement, the 2006 set of accords between the UK, Spain and Gibraltar.

When the PP took over in Madrid it announced that the Tripartite Forum was a dead letter.

Mr García-Margallo said he would only speak to the British government about the territory, but he has a tendency to cry out "Gibraltar is Spanish" such as when he made his first appearance in the European parliament three years ago.

The minister denied having pressured the organisers of a conference to withdraw its invitation to Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar's chief minister, last week. In the end, Mr Picardo made a speech in Madrid on the same say as he was due to address the New Economy Forum, but in a hotel with an invited audience.

José Manuel García-Margallo (BERNARD)

The Spanish minister admitted to having told the forum's organisers it was "not helpful" to give the Gibraltarian leader a platform from which to "expound his completely false theory that Gibraltar is not a colony".

Speaking in Madrid on February 3, Mr Picardo bemoaned the Spanish government's "torpedoing" of the Córdoba Agreement. He also said Gibraltar complied with all EU legislation on tax and complained that Spain had kept the Rock's airport out of the European 'Open Skies' scheme.

The Gibraltar Cervantes Institute said that some 60 students enrol on its Spanish courses each term. According to one long-term resident, today's young Gibraltarians do not pick up Spanish as much as previous generations.

"It's because of their exposure to cable TV and internet, where they can find everything in English. You'll be talking llanito [Gibratarian Spanish] to someone and then their kid walks in and doesn't understand."


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