There we have it, our GSLP Government verifying that Gibraltar, the UK, and Spain are all on the same side pushing for the EU to respect the UK-Spain New Year’s Eve Agreement over Gibraltar, commonly referred to as the Framework Agreement. All of them want the European Commission (EC) to rethink its mandate.
The development, following the publication of the EC negotiating mandate, confirms the accuracy of what was written earlier this week on this blog. Those blogs foresaw the recent pronouncements of the UK Foreign Secretary and the Spanish Foreign Minister, following the latter’s visit to the UK.
Faced with the possibility of no agreement with the EU, into the future, Gibraltar needs to consolidate what makes us different and distinct. It needs to act that way more than ever and irrespective of whether a deal is reached in the end.
It is that uniqueness, enjoyed by Gibraltar, that will retain our attractiveness as a jurisdiction in many spheres, and so our continued longer term financial wellbeing, however difficult things might get in the short term.
The GSLP admissions came in a press release issued yesterday.
The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said, “Gibraltar remains fully committed to the New Year’s Eve Agreement. The United Kingdom has already said they remain fully committed also.”
He went on to say, “I very much welcome Jose Manuel Albares’ statement in London yesterday recommitting Spain to the terms of the New Year’s Eve Agreement and to the Frontex aspects of it in particular.”
Statements that were supported by what both the U.K. and Spanish foreign ministers have said to the press this week.
So, there we have it each of Gibraltar, the UK and Spain on the same page in their respective reaction to the EC mandate.
We have now, clearly evidenced by these statements from Mr. Picardo, a historically unprecedented collaboration between Gibraltar, the UK and Spain, having the aim of bringing the EC, and so the EU, round to match the objectives of all three. Goals that were agreed by all in the Framework Agreement, seemingly with input from the EC.
The reaction of the three could not have been choreographed better, but of course that is not what has happened! Each is simply keeping to the agreed Framework Agreement; that it is full of holes and inconclusive provisions, which the EC attempts to fill in its mandate, is ignored.
Of course, there is no doubting that the EC has gone beyond the ‘intent’ behind the Framework Agreement, but all expected that, before any negotiation. Mr Picardo himself, in advance of its publication, identified that the EC mandate would have “disagreeable” aspects, perhaps not so “disagreeable” as is now known.
EU’S EXTREME POSITION
It is that EU extreme position which will likely allow for compromise. But the more extreme the EC’s position, the more likely any outcome will wander more towards the views held by the EC, than any other view. Extreme positions in any negotiations pull other parties closer to that party holding the more extreme view.
For now, however, the chances of a negotiations have disappeared, but for how long?
It is unlikely that it will be long before a position is reached to allow for discussion. Anything else would simply embarrass an EU member, Spain. The EU will not prolong that. It is likely that the EU Council of Minister will ameliorate the position adopted by the EC in its negotiating mandate.
Is that a certainty, however? Not at all. The distinct possibility exists that a few other member states will have wider agendas involving the UK.
If that is so, there may be some representatives on the EU Council of Ministers who may prove difficult to convince to back a compromise EU position. Could that be a reason why the EC mandate is so extreme, namely, to give more room for compromise for the extreme positions held by some?
OTHER FUNDAMENTALS THAN JUST SPANISH BOOTS
What is worrying is the over exaggeration in all Gibraltar Government statements of the non-acceptability of “Spanish boots on the ground”, and the continuous reference to Frontex.
Spanish presence on the ground is the emotive issue, but that is not likely to be the only fundamental, but unacceptable, concern that the EU and Spain will fight for inclusion in any final treaty. There are other unacceptable fundamentals in the EC mandate, as currently drafted, that need to be understood.
One should remember that the UK left the EU because it wanted to recover its full sovereignty. It wanted to recover those aspects of sovereignty that it had volunteered to the EU. It did so at Brexit.
Continued at link.