EU ‘discrimination will be met with reciprocity’, Picardo warns
The Gibraltar Government will respond “with reciprocity” to any “discrimination or prejudice” by the European Union against the people of Gibraltar, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said yesterday during a fiery speech to the May Day rally in Casemates.
Mr Picardo was speaking two days after the EU unanimously approved Brexit negotiating guidelines that included a Spanish veto over Gibraltar’s inclusion in any UK/EU trade deal.
He said “Europe or no Europe”, his government would fight any erosion of existing workers’ rights in Gibraltar.
“And if anybody thinks that they discriminate against the people of Gibraltar and that we’ll take it lying down, they’ve got something else coming,” the Chief Minister said.
“We will deal with any attempt to discriminate against or prejudice the people of Gibraltar in the way that every nation does, with the principle of reciprocity.”
“What they do unto us, we will do onto them and their’s.”
Mr Picardo’s comments at the rally echoed a position he had set out earlier in a Facebook post on workers’ rights after Brexit.
In that post, he said Spain should have been seeking protections for its workers who start employment after March 29, 2019, once the UK leaves the EU.
“At present, their ‘brilliant’ politicians have ‘successfully’ negotiated a clause that will not automatically extend such arrangements to Spanish workers in Gibraltar if such arrangements are negotiated between the UK and the EU,” he said.
“Well done. In Gibraltar we say ‘ponte un badge’ when you achieve such great pyrrhic victories.”
The Chief Minister told the rally he would deliver “a pro-workers budget” and insisted his government would not introduce an austerity agenda in Gibraltar.
“Efficiency yes, austerity no,” he said, adding: “We had to fight for parity, we are at parity plus now, and we will never row back from there.”
He was speaking after union leaders had addressed the rally and highlighted a number of labour issues of concern, including longstanding grievances over private sector pension rights.