Negotiators for a UK/EU treaty on Gibraltar’s future relations with the bloc may be “on the verge” of an agreement that will allow this community “to put Brexit behind us”, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo says in an opinion published today to mark the third anniversary since Gibraltar left the EU alongside the UK.
Mr Picardo reflects on how Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum and how polls now suggest most British people consider Brexit was a bad thing for the UK.
Gibraltar continues to try and negotiate specific arrangements for its post-Brexit future alongside “a supportive and dedicated” UK Government team, he writes in the opinion, adding that the EU is “engaged” in helping to deliver that deal and that Spain “is playing a pivotal role too”.
“We are not there yet, and we may yet not get there, but we are well on the road to such a treaty becoming a positive reality,” the Chief Minister says.
“Such a treaty will govern the fluidity of movement of persons and goods between Gibraltar and the rest of the EU.”
“It will need to recognise that the interface for us with the rest of the EU is, geographically and physically, via Spain as our neighbouring Member State of the EU.”
“We have to be realistic and understand that politicians can be asked to do many things by the people they serve, but the one thing we cannot realistically be asked to do is to change the realities of geography.”
And he adds: “Gibraltar, the Gibraltarians and residents of Gibraltar were landed with a decision that we did not want and we were clear was not good for us.”
“Thousands of meetings, calls and briefings later, we may be on the verge of a treaty that gives us an opportunity to put Brexit behind us.”
“Failing that, we will have the downsides of Brexit to live with daily as we seek the benefits of leaving the EU which the UK itself has found so elusive for now - but we will make it work, and work well, if we have to.”