Spain’s Cervantes Institute is considering plans to reopen a branch on the Rock amid concerns that the number of people who speak Castellano well is declining on the tiny British territory.
Luis Garcia Montero, director of the Cervantes Institute told the Foreign Affairs Committee of Spain’s Congress of Deputies that €340,000 had been earmarked for the recreation of a centre on the Rock.
“It would be a very good move for Spain to seriously consider the presence of a centre on the Rock as soon as possible,” said Garcia Montero.
“It’s been many years now without a Cervantes
centre (on the Rock) and talking about this is a huge boost to the country’s
culture,” he added.
Due to its geographical position Gibraltar has traditionally been bilingual with those born and bred on the tiny British territory comfortably speaking a mix of the two languages.
The Cervantes Institute opened its first centre in Gibraltar in 2011 as part of the trilateral Cordoba Agreement but in 2015 it was closed by the PP government’s foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo when relations over the Rock worsened.
That a centre could be re-established depends on the outcome of negotiations over Gibraltar’s post-Brexit status.
Talks are expected to begin later this month.
The proposal has cross party support in Spain’s parliament and the Gibraltar government has said in the past that it would welcome such a move.
According to a recent report cited by Garcia Montero, the standard of Spanish has significantly deteriorated among Gibraltar’s schoolchildren.