Manuel Triano, who is currently serving as president of the Cross Border Group, consisting of workers’ and employers’ organisations from both sides of the Rock’s borders, claimed people are using the debate to earn “five minutes of fame”.
The Spaniard is trying to influence talks between EU and British leaders to resolve Gibraltar’s future as the UK heads for the European Union’s exit.
The CBG will also appeal to the EU about the huge queues being faced at the border crossing point, which has drawn both social and commercial complaints as waiting times spiral out of control.
“The Gibraltar issue has been very tempting for some people chasing their five minutes of fame,” Mr Triano said, referring to UK Conservatives who urged Theresa May to defend the Rock like the Falklands was by Margaret Thatcher.
A Spanish union chief has claimed Britain is holding Gibraltar 'hostage' over Brexit
They are taking hostage of thousands of workers, which hasa negative impact on Gibraltar
Commenting on the region’s Brexit future, he suggested Britons were allowing Gibraltarians to be taken “hostage” by negotiations.
Mr Triano added: “What is happening is that they are taking hostage of thousands of workers and companies, which, as a result has a very negative impact on the economies of Gibraltar, La Linea and the region.”
People using the border have also been left seething by EU changes to the Schengen Border Code, which enforces added security checks in the wake of several European terror attacks.
Since April 7, cross-border workers are now cross-referenced against as many as three different databases, the same security checks faced by non-EU passport holders.
Concerned by the longer border queues, one man said: “I am against those queues at the border because they cannot force us to change.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
“We are not against Spain, we are against the attitude they adopt towards us.”
Another said: “Today it is going a little faster, but Wednesday was incredible.
Things you may not know about Gibraltar Mon, April 3, 2017
Gibraltar is a confusing place, especially if you have never been yourself
Play slideshow REUTERS 1 of 9
Gibraltar has its own political system that makes many decisions within the territory but issues like defence and foreign affairs are determined by the UK Government in London
“Gibraltar is not to blame. It is the Spanish government – they want Gibraltar to be Spanish, they should just let Gibraltar be, we are fine as it is.”
The first indication of trouble for the Rock came after it emerged EU President Donald Tusk had handed Spain a say in the future of Gibraltar after the UK leaves the bloc.
The EU’s announcement caused consternation on the Rock, as Gibraltar is known, where the overwhelming majority of residents want to remain British but also voted massively to remain in the EU.