Garcia highlights Gib Brexit challenges in London Convention
The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, has raised some of the challenges that Gibraltar faces in a two-day Brexit Convention which opened in London yesterday.
Dr Garcia was part of a panel discussion chaired by Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, entitled ‘Will Europe make it?’, sitting alongside panellists including Labour MEP Richard Corbett: French journalist Frédéric Martel: EU lawyer Professor Laurent Pech; and communications consultant Louise Rowntree.
There was applause in the hall when Dr Garcia recalled the 96% vote in favour of remaining in the EU in Gibraltar, the highest in the entire voting electorate.
Dr Garcia explained that Brexit was already complicated enough for the UK, without the added dimension that Gibraltar faced of “a hostile and difficult neighbour”, No.6 Convent Place said.
In response to a direct question on aviation issues, Dr Garcia described how Spain had rescinded from an agreement to stop blocking the application of EU law to Gibraltar airport and to construct a connecting building on the Spanish side.
He then highlighted the importance of frontier fluidity for 12,000 workers, 10m tourists and residents on either side.
He made the point that whereas freedom of movement and immigration were issues in the United Kingdom, these were not issues in Gibraltar.
On the wider subject, Dr Garcia said there was some recognition among the European institutions that the EU needed to renew or to reinvent itself.
He pointed to the White Paper produced by the European Commission, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which set out a number of options going forward.
The Deputy Chief Minister said it was important for Gibraltar to be considered as part of the general Brexit debate in the United Kingdom and this participation was therefore very relevant in this context.