Gib and UK continue preparing for ‘no deal’
The UK-Gibraltar Board that supervises preparations for a “no negotiated outcome” [NNO] for Gibraltar’s post-Brexit relations with the EU met on Monday in a virtual meeting to the treaty negotiations with the European Union, met again this afternoon chaired jointly by the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia and the new UK Minister for Europe, Chris Heaton-Harris.
The Deputy Chief Minister thanked Minister Heaton-Harris for the very close work and cooperation with the United Kingdom government across many different departments, which has included the co-funding of a number of NNO programs in Gibraltar.
Mr Heaton-Harris expressed his desire to visit Gibraltar in order to obtain a better understanding of the situation on the ground.
The work of the NNO Board has covered a number of areas including infrastructure projects designed to provide resilience, legislative work which aims to provide a new international legal framework outside EU law and work related to practical matters like documents and procedures, No.6 Convent Place said.
The Government reiterated that it continues to work constructively for a treaty which sets out the future relationship of Gibraltar with the European Union and that this is the preferred outcome.
“However, in the event that there is no agreement, it is important that businesses and citizens continue to inform themselves about the impact that this would have in the areas relevant to them,” it added.
The Government has already published a booklet entitled “Preparing for a No Deal Brexit” which was distributed to every household in Gibraltar and is also available on-line.
This set out the position in the run-up to the Withdrawal Agreement and the work was updated as the transitional period came to an end on 31 December 2020.
A number of new Technical Notices have been issued on a variety of different subjects in order to better inform the public of any action that they may need to take.
These Technical Notices have, over the years, covered areas like passports, identity cards, health, pet passports, driving licences, EU funding and most recently, on 31 December 2021, the further extension of the Spanish bridging measures as negotiations proceed.
This information continues to be available under the section headed “Brexit” of the Gibraltar Government website www.gibraltar.gov.gi
Detailed separate briefings on the impact of a No Negotiated Outcome have already been delivered to the Leader of the Opposition, the Brexit Select Committee of the Gibraltar Parliament, the Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Finance Centre Council and the Gibraltar Gaming and Betting Association.
These have lasted for up to two hours, including questions, and have been handled by the Deputy Chief Minister together with the Civil Contingencies Coordinator Ivor Lopez, No.6 said.
“The objective has been to explain first the challenges and then the mitigation measures that have been put in place in the event that it is not possible to conclude a treaty,” it added.
“It remains important, nonetheless, to understand that there are areas where it is not possible to mitigate and where the outcome, in a no deal scenario, would simply reflect what it means to be a third country outside the European Union.”
“This would entail different processes and procedures from the ones we have been used to in our dealings with the EU which are likely to be more cumbersome, bureaucratic and time-consuming.”
“An example of this would be the stamping of all passports on entry and exit from the Schengen area, not only from Spain.”
The Deputy Chief Minister said the Gibraltar Government will continue to work in cooperation with the United Kingdom on the two different work-streams, on the one hand to secure an agreement and, on the other, to plan for the consequences of life without one.
“Needless to say, the Government remains fully committed to secure a positive treaty outcome which is based on the New Year’s Eve Agreement which was concluded, together with the United Kingdom and Spain, on 31 December 2020,” he said.