Gibraltar and UK focus on detail of Rock’s post-Brexit future
The UK and Gibraltar will establish a mechanism to ensure Gibraltar is consulted on any trade agreements negotiated by Britain outside the EU, both governments said in a joint statement.
The two governments will also set up a working group on gambling as part of wider Brexit-related discussions already covering financial services, insurance and taxation.
These are among the latest developments following the third meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council on Brexit between the UK and Gibraltar governments, which was held in London on Monday.
“It’s been a real, collegiate and substantive engagement on the issues that matter,” Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the Chronicle, as he boarded a flight back to Gibraltar.
“We’re in the detail now and that’s where we need to be.”
The meeting in London coincided with the latest round of talks between the UK and the EU in Brussels.
It was chaired by the Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Robin Walker, and included UK Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay and officials from a number of UK departments including the Cabinet Office, Department for International Trade, Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport and the Home Office.
The Gibraltar delegation was led by Mr Picardo and included the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, Attorney General Michael Llamas and Financial Secretary Albert Mena.
“The talks moved on to a new phase with an agreement to establish a working group to discuss gambling,” both governments said in a joint statement.
“The Government of Gibraltar and HM Treasury agreed to continue to work closely together on financial services, committing to a programme of work on insurance and discussed Gibraltar’s proposals for tax treaties.”
“When it comes to international trade, we have agreed between our two Governments to put in place a mechanism for ensuring that Gibraltar is consulted on the Free Trade Agreements the UK plans to negotiate outside the EU.”
“This will build upon the existing mechanisms by which Gibraltar is currently consulted on a treaty-by-treaty basis when it comes to international treaties.”
Immediately after the JMC meeting, the Chief Minister met the new Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster.
“The work we are doing is very advanced,” Mr Picardo said.
“We are dealing with the substance of the requirements to be met for a seamless transition from EU single market access to bilateral UK/Gibraltar market access.”
“The fact is that the relationship with Robin Walker at DExEU and with Sir Alan Duncan at the FCO is an excellent one which is delivering positive progress for Gibraltar based on principles of partnership and seeking to secure Gibraltar's economic prosperity going forward.”
“I am very pleased with progress so far and the real, substantive, full involvement we are engaged in on the work being done for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union pursuant to the decision of the referendum of the British people.”
Mr Walker, who is leading for the UK Government on Gibraltar-related Brexit issues, said the delegations had held “very productive discussions”.
“Today, we agreed to put in a place a mechanism for ensuring that Gibraltar is consulted on the Free Trade Agreements the UK plans to negotiate outside the EU,” he said.
“I hope this will help businesses in Gibraltar remain confident about our approach to negotiations, and our future opportunities outside of the EU.”
“The Secretary of State is in Brussels today to start the second round of talks.”
“We're getting on with the job in hand, and are confident we can get a deal that works for the UK, the EU, and Gibraltar.”
Sir Alan Duncan took the opportunity too to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to Gibraltar.
“As the Prime Minister has made clear, we are absolutely steadfast in our support of Gibraltar, its people and its economy,” he said.
“These productive discussions today allow us to continue to work closely with Gibraltar to ensure that their priorities are taken into account as we negotiate our exit from the European Union.”