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Cross Frontier Group set to push ahead with ‘post-Brexit bridge’

Unite Union Press Call at the JMH(Photo John Bugeja) 23.03.17 Gibraltar Tony Woodhouse, a member of the Unite executive council in the UK, campaign relating to Ian McClusky. In pix Michael Netto

The Cross Frontier Group is ready to push ahead with its plans to create a European Group of Territorial Cooperation, an initiative that had been stalled for months.
Juan Carmona, the Spanish lawyer advising the group, told a seminar at the University of Gibraltar that the group had agreed a structure to ensure the EGTC was led by business, not political interests.
The EGTC is an EU structure designed to foster - and fund - projects that generate cross-border economic activity.
It brings together labour and business interests but must also have an element of public representation on either side of the border.
Until now however, the Spanish Government had been reluctant to allow the Mancomunidad to get involved, while the Gibraltar Government had also been “difficult to convince”, according to the lawyer.
“The EGTC had been paralysed for political reasons for over a year,” Sr Carmona said, adding that “with the change of strategy at the Partido Popular, the Mancomunidad is now backing the initiative and says it wants to be involved.”
The difficult thing was “to find a legal framework” that ensured the EGTC did not become a victim of political ups and downs.
As such the proposed structure will give the leading role within the EGTC to Chambers of Commerce on either side of the border, Sr Carmona said.
He added that the Cross Frontier Group would begin to draft the technical documents to establish the EGTC in September “and we hope to be able to present it to both governments by the end of the year”.
“This will be a post-Brexit bridge that we are building while both sides are still within the EU,” he said.
Last June the Gibraltar Government and the Cross Frontier Group agreed to work together to facilitate and promote cross-border fluidity, cooperation and economic growth.
The commitment was set out in a memorandum of understanding signed by the two parties after a meeting in No.6 Convent Place.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said at the time that the agreement would build on work that had already been carried out by the group.

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