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Brexit will not affect Gib’s standard of living, says Sir Peter Caruana

Gibraltar should not be overly concerned about the economic impact of Brexit because aside from some short-term “stresses and strains” it will not affect Gibraltarians standard of living.
That was the view of former Chief Minister Sir Peter Caruana who was speaking as part of GBC’s
Viewpoint programme on Thursday evening which featured the input of a number of prominent
political figures.
His comments were echoed by Minister for economic development Sir Joe Bossano who said he was confident that the Government will achieve the economic targets set put in the GSLP/Liberal 2019
Taking a bullish stance Sir Peter said that given the position Gibraltar is in, its people should not feel overly concerned about the economic impact of Brexit.
“We will reposition, we will calibrate, we will re-orientate. The activity we might lose is not that big anyway.”
“There may be some repositioning, some short term stresses and strains but nothing that goes
anywhere near threatening Gibraltar’s economic survival or standard of living.”
“This is not a time for collective worry and collective depression,” Sir Peter said as he played down the challenge posed.
He said that Gibraltar had “successfully negotiated” the MoU’s and Tax Treaty, adding that that has bought a continuation of EU rule in Gibraltar for the transition period.
And in terms of the future relationship agreement Sir Peter said “Spain could veto our inclusion in that future relationship agreement between Britain and the EU and this is going to require, as is envisaged in the transitional agreements, a three-cornered negotiation between the UK, Spain and Gibraltar to see the terms on which they will be willing to allow us to participate with Britain in the future relationship agreement, to be included in the scope of that agreement.”
“That’s going to require a new round of negotiations with Spain following on from the MoUs and the Tax Treaty that were used to buy our right to sit at that table.”
Sir Peter reiterated his view that the Tax Treaty makes “no significant concessions” on sovereignty.
He said: “As a ex Chief Minister of Gibraltar if I had thought that a Government of Gibraltar had made concessions in the relevant important aspects of sovereignty, namely the Britishness of our sovereignty, I would have protested.”
“I am of the view that it doesn’t,” he added.
And in the context of the future negotiations Sir Peter said it remains to be seen what Spain will ask for but he warned against “talking up” their cruciality and “seducing” Spain into raising their asking price.
“We don’t want to wrongly signal to Spain that they have a stronger hand in this negotiation than they have,” he said.
Another former Chief Minister, Adolfo Canepa, was also interviewed as part of the wide-ranging programme, and expressed optimism that Spain would not take a hard line on issues such as border fluidity.
He said: “For as long as the present left-wing, progressive Spanish Government is in power I have a feeling things will work reasonably well.”

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