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Brexit ‘changes Gib’s business model’, Gonzalez Laya says

Leaving the European Union alongside the UK “changes Gibraltar’s business model”, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs said yesterday, adding that Spain “holds the key” for Europe in negotiations for the Rock’s future relationship with the bloc.

Arancha González Laya was speaking during a Forum Europe breakfast meeting in Madrid organised by the Nueva Economia Forum, in which she also restated Spain’s desire to establish an area of “shared prosperity” with Gibraltar.

Responding to questions on Brexit and Gibraltar, she said Spain’s priorities in the wider negotiations for a future relationship between the EU and the UK were in protecting the country’s commercial and economic interests, alongside the rights of citizens.
Asked specifically on Gibraltar, she would not be drawn on her government’s negotiating strategy.

But she added: “It’s clear that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union changes Gibraltar’s business model.”

“We’ve been able to start addressing part of that model in the Withdrawal Agreement with a tax treaty – which, I insist, is unprecedented in our relations with the United Kingdom over Gibraltar – and with four memorandums of understanding on issues such as the environment, tobacco smuggling, on practical issues which, as I say, allow some of the questions that arise in this new scenario to be resolved,” she told guests at the briefing, who included Hugh Elliott, the UK’s ambassador to Madrid.

“What is left now is to begin a negotiation to see what the relationship between the United Kingdom and Spain will be as it relates to Gibraltar.”

“This is a negotiation between the United Kingdom and the European Union in which Spain, in Europe, holds the key. That is the starting point.”

“From there, it is evident that we want a zone of shared prosperity, that is our objective interest…”