Treaty or no 'Gibexit' treaty?

by Robert Vasquez

“Shared prosperity”, between Gibraltar and the immediate Spanish vicinity, is the buzz-phrase, used by the UK, Gibraltar, and Spain, as one major objective of a UK-EU ‘Gibexit’ treaty being negotiated now. It is important, therefore, for all not to lose sight of the need for prosperity, to allow for it to be shared.

The EU mandate, and delays in achieving agreement or any announced progress, indicate, however, the EU’s lack of understanding of the prosperity needed to benefit both sides of the border. Although agreement to extend the time allocated for negotiations to reach a treaty, taken together with recent comments (in this newspaper), by H.E. the Governor, Sir David Steel, show that hope persists.

If a treaty is announced, it is crucial that there should not be a knee-jerk reaction against it, but that it should be considered carefully and holistically, remembering the time and undoubted care taken to negotiate it. We must also maintain the crucial and ingrained self-confidence that we have in our remaining ‘British’, and which we kept throughout our membership of the EU.

Additionally, the deficiencies that exist in our so-called democracy and governance have come to the fore during these negotiations, which, not least, involve two political leaders and two unelected officeholders, none of them having authority from our Parliament.


It is Gibraltar that is the major catalyst for the prosperity that allows for sharing; Gibraltar and its differences, as measured in sovereignty, political, financial, and economic terms. The EU is designed to eliminate, or at least diminish, differences of those types between member nations. The competing forces are obvious. Those were emphasised when the EU published its mandate.

Sharing prosperity is not new; in recent times it has been going on for decades, ever since the full opening of the border in 1985. Examples are, the employment of large numbers of Spanish nationals in Gibraltar, who take their wages to spend in Spain; the rental of homes in Spain by workers of all nationalities employed in Gibraltar, who also spend their ‘Gibraltar’ earnings there; the homes bought by Gibraltarians in Spain; and the shopping by many Gibraltarians in Spain.

The EU mandate, covering the negotiations over Gibraltar, failed to recognise that need of ‘difference’, which is what benefits the economies on both sides of the border, as shown by the examples given. In that sense, that mandate provided little basis on which to reach a treaty between the UK and the EU over Gibraltar.

Yet hope springs eternal, as negotiating deadlines have been extended to allow for talks beyond the yearend deadline.

Continued at link.

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