Spain’s PSOE party was returned to govern for a second successive term as this issue went to press. On the face of it this is good news for the future of Spanish-Gibraltar relations, not least as it underscores the continued evolution of the Trilateral Forum established during the previous term.
The Chamber hopes that the with the main protagonists of the Forum – the governments of Gibraltar and Spain – having both renewed their mandates, efforts will be made on both sides to re-energise the Forum and regain some of the momentum that was inevitably lost in the lead up to the elections. There is still much to do and improve for the benefit of those on both sides of the frontier.
It was the combination of personal energy, political courage and individual chemistry which brought the Forum into existence. The Cordoba Agreement in 2006 was the fruition of the first set of protracted negotiations. We hope that there will now be regular mutually beneficial harvests following regular interchanges of ideas. Individual politicians and their civil service entourages can help to develop the Forum provided it is nurtured with ideas, energy and recognising when and what to compromise and, just as importantly, what is not negotiable. Alternatively, the participants can let it wither by starving the process of creativity and vigour. Ultimately though
the Forum will thrive or die on the outcomes it delivers.
With the forthcoming global slowdown, Gibraltar’s economic impact is likely to assume a greater importance as an engine of growth affecting the Campo region. Simply put, Gibraltar’s record as a creator of jobs, wealth and sustainable growth over the last eight years has been beneficial to many, although not in equal measure, to those on the Rock as well as to those in the neighbouring Spanish hinterland.
Not everything revolves around the business community in Gibraltar but many issues do. What is more the business community is probably better placed than others to develop pragmatic solutions to issues which have stifled progress and hampered growth for far too long.
Several issues affect local businesses’ ability to grow unfettered by the usual barriers to competition. The removal of these encumbrances would enable local firms to invest and expand. This would create more jobs as well as boost government tax receipts.
Two areas in particular where the Forum could assist are by extending the opening hours of the East Gate for freight clearance into Gibraltar. Currently no freight is cleared from Spain between 2.30pm on Friday and first thing on Monday morning. By contrast, the neighbouring port of Algeciras operates a much wider freight clearance window. The second issue would be to establish a workable formula for Moroccan workers employed in Gibraltar who on occasion need to use the Spanish ports of Algeciras or Tarifa to return to their homeland.
Efforts to help resolve these and other issues would be a good test for the new administrations of Gibraltar, which promised a more consensual style of government and of Spain, which on being re-elected, hailed a “nueva etapa sin crispación”.
When the Gibraltar to Tangier ferry was confined to port because of bad weather last December, it sharply illustrated a problem faced by many Moroccan workers living on the Rock.
For several days the ferry was unable to make the crossing while hundreds of frustrated Moroccans waited anxiously. It was the start of the Eid festivities and they wanted to get home to their families.
With tempers frayed, there were angry scenes in Irish Town outside the ferry company’s local agent.
Many of those gathered there said they understood the company’s position but felt let down that no one had pushed for a long term solution to their problem.
“I’ve been working for 40 years and look at the way that I’m treated,” said one man.
The problem hinges on the fact that many Moroccan workers, despite having lived and worked here for many years, have never received any formal right of residence or recognition as British citizens.
Because of this, they are unable to cross over land into Spain, a Schengen border, and are only able to leave the Rock by sea to Morocco.
The only link is a weekly fast ferry. When bad weather or a technical problem closes that down as happened last December, they are stuck. Even though larger ferries may continue operating from Algeciras, many workers here cannot get from Gibraltar to the Spanish port overland.
Spain has authorised occasional humanitarian crossings but says that in the wider context, this is a problem for the Gibraltar authorities to resolve.
Over the years, authorities here have granted many residency permits to long-term workers, but increasingly there is mounting pressure for them to pay closer attention to the matter.
Earlier this year TGWU (Unite) Deputy General Secretary Jack Dromey wrote to Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Milliband demanding full nationality and residential rights for long-term Moroccan nationals working in Gibraltar.
He said the union was concerned at “the deeply entrenched and continuing discrimination against Moroccan nationals living and working in this British Overseas Territory.”
He added that even though many Moroccans had lived in Gibraltar for over twenty years, they continued to have an “inferior status in the eyes of the [Gibraltar] law and institutions.”
The New Flame accident off the southern tip of Gibraltar is set to spur efforts by authorities on the Rock and in Spain to find ways of tightening maritime safety in the region.
Politicians have already agreed to discuss practical measures for cooperation in this field within the context of the trilateral process and maritime matters which will form a key element of the agenda for the next round of talks.
As B2B has reported in past issues, the background to these efforts is growing traffic and ever-expanding port capacity within the confines of the Bay of Gibraltar, and the Strait of Gibraltar beyond.
The Bay is home to a refinery, a coal terminal, two shipyards and one of the world’s busiest container transhipment hubs. It is also a premier spot for bunkering in the Mediterranean, thanks largely to lively competition in Gibraltar.
Add to that mix, the fact that Algeciras is Europe’s busiest launch pad for ferry services to Morocco, and the result is simple: on any given day, the Bay is a vibrant hive of maritime activity.
The collision between the bulker New Flame and the tanker Torm Gertrud last August, illustrated perfectly the potential risks in the Bay.
The tanker was coming into Algeciras, the bulker was sailing from Gibraltar. It was not the first collision of its sort.
Now, the focus is on ensuring that both ports coordinate their respective vessel movements to avoid a reoccurrence. Although there is contact between the ports at ground level, there is no formal framework for these exchanges.
One likely option is the introduction of a formal traffic separation scheme, which would help to “de-conflict” shipping in the Bay.
At political level, the idea has already been tabled within the context of the Tripartite Process, though details are still sketchy.
“Nothing has been agreed at this stage, but there is an expression of willingness to proceed with this,” said Peter Caruana, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, at a press conference in January.
Another intention is to establish a formal framework to coordinate each port’s contingency plans and capabilities in the event of a major pollution incident.
Ultimately the aim is to agree a compatible protocol and allow teams on either side of the border to carry out joint exercises.
Mr Caruana’s direct involvement in the wake of the casualty, speaks volumes for the prominence that maritime affairs have taken following the New Flame incident, which was the latest in a string of accidents.
Politicians in this area have learnt through bitter experience that maritime accidents – no matter how minor – make big headlines and can easily undermine hard-earned gains in other areas of cross-border cooperation.
The point was sharply illustrated in the run-up to the Spanish genera election on March 9, when the wreck of the New Flame became an icon for political groups and NGOs wishing to make capital out of the accident.
Perhaps the most prominent of those groups was Greenpeace, which in February managed to get two activists on board the wreck and unfurled a banner reading ‘Diplomatic Pollution’.
“The governments on either side of the Bay have spent six months looking for someone to blame and arguing over the jurisdiction of these waters, and in the meantime the New Flame caused seven oil spills,” a spokesman for Greenpeace Spain said. “In all that time they have not yet resolved the problem and the ship is still a potential source of new spills.”
While the New Flame appears to have caused some pollution, experts on both sides of the Bay insist that they were minor in nature. Looked at coldly, the response to the casualty, properly handled.
In the initial stages of the casualty, Gibraltar’s maritime authorities moved swiftly to rescue the ship’s crew. In the ensuing weeks, leading Greek salvor Tsavliris removed the fuel oil from the vessel and attempted to remove the wreck.
Difficult weather conditions and the deteriorating condition of the ship forced underwriters to review their plans and a contract was eventually awarded to Titan Salvage, which is currently engaged in the wreck removal.
Again, persistent foul weather has repeatedly stalled plans to break the ship in two and remove it from its exposed location.
Even Spanish politicians acknowledged that, despite the noise about the New Flame, nothing much had happened.
Speaking in Algeciras before the election, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Spain had urged Gibraltar to expedite the removal of the wreck but added “there is no need to be worried”.
“You cannot compare the New Flame with the Prestige,” he said.
THE environmental impact assessment for the Eastside Development is a vast document which, when you include full-size architectural drawings, easily covers a boardroom table in the office of the Town Planner where it is open to scrutiny.
The study, prepared by specialist consultant Halcrow, is bound in several thick files and runs into hundreds of pages, covering everything from the impact of the project on the land and marine environment, to its broader social and economic implications.
This is a hugely important document for Gibraltar. It probes in fine detail every aspect of a multi-million project that will radically transform the undeveloped east side of the Rock.
The deal for the Eastside Development was finalised just before Christmas last year and the project was filed with the Development and Planning Commission [DPC] and opened to public consultation.
In broad terms the study concluded that the construction phase would have significant negative impacts on the physical environment of the area.
There are several significant issues that will need to be mitigated against, not least the possible presence of toxic substances in building rubble dumped at the site over two decades. The possible presence of these toxic substances will require special handling as is currently done for asbestos.
The study also said that all of these issues can be addressed through thorough forward planning and that the Eastside Development will be of important long-term benefit
The project envisages construction of residential, hotel, marina and leisure facilities on reclaimed land between Catalan Bay and Eastern Beach.
The developers have already paid premiums in excess of £30m to the Gibraltar Government and will pay at least a further £70m.
Inevitably, it will not be to everyone’s taste: gone will be the sleepy nature of the area, replaced with tall luxury blocks and marina facilities akin to what is on offer north along the Mediterranean coast in Spain.
But there can be no denying that once complete, it will provide a major boost to the local economy.
Once it is up and running, the development is expected to directly create 2,400 hotel, office and retail jobs, with up to 1,700 further jobs created through knock-on effects in other sectors of business.
The Eastside Development is just one of a number of major projects that will be constructed simultaneously over the coming years.
These include the Eastside Development, the Mid Town Development, the airport terminal and road, the affordable housing schemes, the new rental housing estate, a new power station to replace all the existing old ones, a sewage treatment plant, and a new prison.
The work will impact on life in Gibraltar in a major way, something that was recognised by Chief Minister Peter Caruana earlier this year.
“Many of these major projects, including the refurbishment of Europa Point, get underway this year, and during the construction phase we will all be subjected to varying degrees of inconvenience and discomfort,” he said in his New Year message.
“But their value to Gibraltar and our future prosperity are well worth our making these sacrifices for the benefit of future generations, just as past generations made for us.”
The Government recently published a new development plan for Gibraltar that aims to coordinate development policies over the coming years.
It has also made the planning process more transparent than it was in the past, opening all applications to public consultation.
However, the scale of the Eastside Development EIA has left some members of the public feeling that the present system falls short of the mark.
The Environmental Safety Group, faced with digesting the mammoth document – and somewhat shorter, though nonetheless meaty documents relating to the airport terminal and road – expressed serious misgivings.
“Large projects of this type should receive longer scrutiny from the public,” it said.
“The impacts from such large scale operations justify open discussion to give the public the opportunity to raise concerns and ask questions directly of developers, engineers and decision makers.”
The existing 21-day consultation period, the group added, was insufficient time to digest these documents and prepare a well-thought out response that would properly contribute to the planning process.
“The ESG hopes that the Government will reopen the consultation period for both the airport/road and Eastside project and arrange for public meetings to enable fuller participation on projects which are radically transforming Gibraltar’s landscape,” the ESG said.
“With the assessments for large projects running concurrently this must also stretch those tasked with judging the full impacts from the projects and may not produce the best outcome for Gibraltar and the environment.”
In its election manifesto, the GSD promised further improvements to the planning process, including allowing minor projects to be assessed without ministerial involvement in order to speed up the process.
Major developments will be considered by the full DPC, but the DPC must issue a statement in each case notifying its decision and the reasons wherefore.
All major developments above a certain size or of exceptional impact or significance will, in addition to DPC approval, require the approval of the Parliament.
A new local company is poised to launch Gibraltar’s first home-grown business aviation service.
Gibjets, which aims to be operational by next month, will target the corporate market primarily but will also carry high-value parcels and handle emergency medical flights.
The company has leased a Falcon 100 six-seat executive jet capable of reaching most European cities non-stop and will operate from Gibraltar airport.
If needed, the plane can be transformed into a top-class air ambulance within just 25 minutes.
The driver behind the company is property developer and marina owner Paul Butler, who has been working on the project with his team for the past six months.
“Everyone can see that there are more and more private jets using the airport,” he told B2B. “The tripartite agreement has opened up the world for Gibraltar and we saw a gap in the market.”
“If that hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have done this.”
Gibjets has struck an agreement with Mayoral Aviation, an established Malaga-based operator of executive jets.
Mayoral will provide experienced pilots and maintenance personnel for Gibjets’ plane and will also act as a broker for the Gibraltar company. Likewise, Gibjets will act as a broker not just for its own aircraft, but also for those of Mayoral.
In effect, the deal gives both companies increased flexibility to respond to customer needs.
“This works on a first come first served basis,” Mr Butler said. “But the agreement with Mayoral gives us the flexibility to limousine customers to Málaga if we have to and put them on one of their planes.”
At a basic level, the market for the service includes senior executives flying to do business on the Rock and its environs, as well as Gibraltar’s own legal and financial executives who regularly conduct business elsewhere. There is also likely to be demand from wealthy travellers heading to and from the Sotogrande area.
However, Mr Butler and his team see greater scope in developing the business. They talk about flying high-value freight, for example IT components for locally-based companies. They also believe there is scope for business in the maritime sector, where prompt delivery can often mean getting a ship underway swiftly and therefore saving thousands in demurrage costs.
This is new ground for Gibraltar and despite the confidence of the Gibjets founder, it remains to be seen exactly what demand there is for this service.
Nonetheless Mr Butler is clear how he will react if his new venture, literally, takes off.
“If I can see potential in it, I’ll bring in another plane,” he said.
The newbie airline boss also had nothing but praise for the Gibraltar Government, the airport staff and the Ministry of Defence.
“Everyone has bent over backwards to help us get this going,” he said.
Gibjets hopes to formally present the company at a reception at Gibraltar airport mid April.
The £12m King’s Bastion Leisure Centre was heaving with clientele within minutes of opening its doors for business earlier this month.
The ambitious project centred on the refurbishment of the bastion’s defensive walls and combines cutting-edge modern architecture with a careful regard for heritage.
The innovative use of steel and glass, retains the bastion’s distinctive features to create an avante garde installation that mixes old and new in a balanced blend.
The aim was to create a contemporary design to complement rather than replicate the old walls.
The leisure centre itself is contained within the boundary of the bastion but does not infringe on it. Areas of wall that were lost inside the old power station have now been recovered and restored.
“The glass is the secret of the whole design concept,” said Carl Viagas, the Gibraltar Government’s heritage officer who has played a key role in the project. “Only the glass actually comes into contact with the walls.”
The leisure centre is in fact “a box within a box”, and because only the glass panels come into contact with the stone walls, the old bastion appears visually untouched.
Throughout the complex the design by Dutch architect Stefan Ritzen creates a strong impression of space and light.
The Leisure Centre currently contains adult and children bowling facilities, an ice skating rink, a well-equipped amusement arcade, a pool and snooker lounge, a multi-station internet lounge, a youth lounge and bar with further games and entertainment facilities such as big screens and others, a nightclub and an adult terrace bar.
It will shortly also boast a two-screen cinema and a personal fitness centre.
The restaurant, bar and bowling facilities are operated by private sector operators. The rest is operated by the centre’s own management and by the Sport & Leisure Authority.
The Gibraltar Government said its vision and objective is to make the Leisure Centre a place of safe and enjoyable entertainment for all the family, where people of all ages can come and enjoy the amenities in a relaxed and safe environment.
In the days following the opening, the complex was packed with families curious to experience this significant new addition to Gibraltar’s social life.
Speaking at the opening of the centre, Chief Minister Peter Caruana, who admits taking a close personal interest in the project, was clearly pleased with the result.
“I am no expert on such matters, but I have travelled extensively [and] I believe that the recovery and restoration of the King’s Bastion as a heritage monument, and the sensitivity and care with which the Leisure Centre has been built and integrated into the Bastion, is by global standards, an outstanding achievement in the management, conservation and putting to use of heritage,” he said.
And he added: “I know that some people genuinely interested in heritage in Gibraltar have been unable to agree with the Government’s decision to demolish the Rosia Tanks to make way for affordable housing.”
“I hope that they will accept this magnificent recovery of the King’s Bastion as some, though I understand insufficient, compensation.”
“The Government remains committed to the uncluttering and refurbishment of our walls and bastions as has already happened at Casemates, Orange Bastion, Chatham Counterguard and now here at King’s Bastion.”
“From King’s Bastion we will continue to move south to Wellington Front, the whole of which will be refurbished, restored and put to modern civic uses.”
Now all the Christmas bills are in and the credit card statements have been read with varying degrees of horror, the usual bout of post-festive financial indigestion has been sharper than usual on account of the rising strength of the euro.
The toys, trinkets and other must-haves bought in the stores and boutiques of La Cañada and Jerez which were so appealing in the pre-Christmas build-up, do not look such bargains now. Although the euro has seen a near doubling of its value against the US dollar to $1.50 since it hit a low of 85 cents in early 2003, the euro’s strength against sterling has been considerable too. (see graph)
In theory this should be good news for Gibraltar’s local traders as the Rock’s consumers become more selective due to increases in the cost of living coupled with deteriorating economic conditions. Traditional habits though, such as the weekend shopping trips to Spain, are proving harder to break despite the fact that the cost of such trips has risen by 20 per cent since last year, once the strong euro and price increases are factored in.
However Gibraltar’s traders are losing out for another reason. Whilst the euro has greater buying power for Spaniards and other shoppers visiting the Rock, the rate of exchange charged by some local traders when a customer pays euros in cash, is quite simply exorbitant. One complaint received by the Chamber from some recent visitors made the following comment about being charged a conversion rate of E2: £1.
“This is outrageous treatment coming from a locality that has such dependency on tourism. Shame on Gibraltar!”
The market rate at the time was £1: E1.34.
We all know that the euro is not legal tender in Gibraltar and it is up to the trader to decide whether or not to accept payment in euros and they are free to set whatever exchange rate they wish. But charging a rate 50 per cent higher than the market rate seems pretty excessive.
“Needless to say,” the disgruntled visitors said on their departure, “we shall not be returning to the Rock and we will be sure to relay our experiences to all our British and foreign friends.” Is this really the impression we want to create among visitors? It seems clear that the majority of local traders are reasonable on the exchange rate but what can be done about those few traders who think visitors are fair game to be so brazenly exploited?
Inevitably the temptation by some traders to augment profits by levying excessive exchange rates can be great, but the impression left on the visiting tourist does tremendous damage to Gibraltar’s reputation over the time.
A quick straw poll conducted recently, revealed most of the local traders in shops, bars and restaurants who were asked, use a rate of between E1.33 to E1.60 for the those customers paying euros in cash.
One difficulty some retailers face, is keeping up with volatile changes in the exchange rate. Some set their exchange rate for the year and to change the rate on their cash tills can necessitate calling a software technician, which involves additional cost. Also, local retailers accepting euros in cash, have to pay commission on converting them back into sterling at the bank.
Other retailers can be hampered if their merchandise shows both sterling and euro prices on the product’s label. Changing the exchange rate at the till would only confuse the shoppers.
Shoppers who do not have any sterling cash should be advised that the exchange rate for cash will not be as competitive as the market rate. They would then have the option to go to a bureau de change or pay euros in cash. A reasonable loading might be around 15 – 20 per cent over the bank rate.
The easiest way round this of course, is to encourage shoppers who do not have sterling cash to use their credit card instead. Credit card companies charge
a rate that is far closer to the market rate at the time the transaction takes place. It may not be as profitable as a one-off cash transaction charging 50 per cent above the market rate, but neither will it risk damaging the reputation of Gibraltar as a shopper-friendly destination. And, what is more, they may even come back again.
The Annual Careers Fair at the end of February was billed as the most successful one to date.
Support for the fair from local employers has been growing year on year since the first event was held two years ago at Bayside School. In fact, the level of interest has been so great, that the event had to find larger premises last year to be able to house all the employers who wanted to take a stand. The event has been held for the last two years in the new Sports Hall at Victoria Stadium. The fair was organised jointly by Bayside School, Westside School and the Gibraltar College.
This year, the growth has continued with around sixty local employers ranging from Government agencies such as the Health Authority and the Fire Service, to dozens of private sector companies attending. Interest about career options available in Gibraltar was correspondingly high among pupils approaching school leaving age.
Pat Orfila, one of the organisers from Bayside School, was delighted by the response from both employers and pupils alike: “It’s great that employers can see the value of showing what career options are available to pupils when they leave school or graduate from university. Gibraltar’s economy is much more broadly based than it was 20 years ago and the variety of jobs and careers has expanded greatly.”
Derek Sene, Deputy Managing Director of Barclays Bank which took a stand at the fair said: “Our presence in the careers fair further reinforces our commitment to the youth of Gibraltar. Choosing the right career is a significant milestone in anyone’s life and we want the students to feel that we are right there with them making things as easy as possible for them.”
Young Enterprise, a new initiative that is being introduced this autumn at the College of Further Education, also had a presence on the Barclays stand which is primary sponsor of Young Enterprise Gibraltar. Mr Sene said, “The Young Enterprise scheme is new to Gibraltar and introduces youngsters to the business world. The Department of Education has expressed an interest in the programme and the course is to run at the College of Further Education later this year.”
Dee Murphy, Human Resources Manager at Ladbrokes Gibraltar said, “We are delighted to have attended the Careers Fair for the past three years and each year the event has grown in terms of the number of stalls and the level of interest.
This event provides Gibraltar-based businesses with the ideal opportunity to inform the public of the differing job roles available and career opportunities within an organisation.
This year’s event was very well attended and from the moment the doors opened, our stand was inundated with young people and their parents wishing to know more about future career prospects with our company. We found the evening to be both enjoyable and worthwhile and would highly recommend participation to other businesses.”
Similar sentiments were highlighted by Maria Vencino Ramos from the Royal Bank of Scotland, which was among sixty or so organisations present at the fair: “Once again the fair has proved to be an excellent showcase to illustrate to students the diverse and exciting career options in Gibraltar. I am sure students and exhibitors alike benefit greatly from the event.”
Next year, the organisers are looking for even more local employers to be present to make this annual event a continued success.
Young Enterprise coming to Gibraltar
Young Enterprise is the UK’s largest business and enterprise education charity. The charity’s main role is to forge links between educational institutions and commerce. Its mission is to inspire and equip young people to learn about business through real life examples and by showing students how to set up and run their own business whilst still studying. Many head teachers cite the biggest barrier to making the Diplomas a success is engaging with and developing the necessary links with business.
Young Enterprise is planning to begin running a pilot programme at the Gibraltar College from September this year. A steering committee has been set up to introduce the programme to Gibraltar. The Chamber is represented on the steering committee of Young Enterprise and in due course the Chamber will be seeking Business Advisors from members of the local business community. Business Advisors give useful real world experience to students and it also helps company employees with their own personal development.
Two Slovenian chess champions took a break from the Gibraltar Chess Tournament when they visited the offices of Gibtelecom, the main sponsor of the event. The visit was the idea of the Chess organisers, whose interest was sparked by the fact that Gibtelecom is now half-owned by the major Slovenian telecoms company, Telekom Slovenije.
The two players were at both ends of the age spectrum. Anna Muzychuk is already an international chess star at the age of 17 and has been playing since she was three years old, representing Slovenia at the remarkable young age of 15. The more mature Alexander Beliavsky, is a Slovenian grandmaster whose games are frequently used as examples in books on chess. Alexander was originally born in the Ukraine and has been a former Soviet champion and participated in many famous Linares tournaments.
Anna attends something like ten tournaments around the world each year, yet still finds time to study at university and pass her exams.
The players were accompanied by Manuel Weeks, a former captain of the Australian men’s chess team and also the official press officer for this tournament which is now one of the main open events in the international chess calendar.
The meeting, at Gibtelecom’s Europort offices, was friendly, informal and wide-ranging.
With the help of Francis Lopez (Business Director), Adrian Ochello (Sales & Marketing Manager) and Widette Gomez (Corporate Affairs), the Company’s CEO Tim Bristow, gave the players an illustrated presentation on Gibtelecom – including tracing its origins back to the Falmouth to Gibraltar and Malta Telegraph line in 1869 – and also on the wide-ranging activities of their own country’s predominant service provider, Telekom Slovenije.
The guests showed a lot of interest, especially in the internet services of both Gibraltar and Slovenia, as computers play a major role in professional players’ equipment. They have an enormous database of games played so that they can analyse the way a prospective opponent makes his or her moves, as well as to follow commentaries on matches. Gibtelecom is providing technical support for such internet services for this Gibraltar tournament, held as always at the Caleta Hotel.
It wasn’t all technical though. There was a lot of talk from both sides about Slovenia itself – Tim, Francis and Adrian had all visited Slovenia in the course of their duties, and Tim said the Company was encouraging as many of the management team as possible to get to know Telekom Slovenije, and their mobile subsidiary, Mobitel, for themselves.
The picture that emerged, from the Slovenians and the Gibraltarian side, was that Slovenia is not only a beautiful country but also one that is still comparatively safe and where English is widely spoken at various levels.
Tim and Francis agreed that Gibraltar and Slovenia have another thing in common – the love of good food. A feature of Slovenian gastronomy is the taking of slow meals – made up of a large number of small courses that are spread over four or five hours. They also produce their own wine, every last drop of which is consumed within Slovenia.
The picturesque charm, however, has not prevented Telekom Slovenije from making the country one of the most advanced in Europe in the field of telephony and internet services.
After the 45 minute meeting, Gibtelecom arranged for their guests to see something of the Rock and also the salvage works on the New Flame wreck off Europa Point.