Gibraltar House in Brussels to ‘play vital role going forward’
The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia told a Brussels reception that the Gibraltar Government had no intention of closing its office there despite Brexit.
Dr Garcia said the work of the Brussels office would now be more challenging but also more important than ever before.
“There will be plenty to do and Gibraltar House will play a vital role going forward,” a Government statement read.
Dr Garcia was speaking at a reception for contacts and guests from the Brussels community held at Gibraltar House in Brussels.
He reiterated that Gibraltarians did not want Brexit nor did they vote for it, but would now get on with it and secure the best possible deal going forward.
Dr Garcia said that the Government had no intention of closing the Gibraltar mission in Brussels following departure from the European Union.
He pointed to the Channel Islands as territories largely outside the EU that had long maintained an office there. The UK Overseas Territory of Bermuda, for example, had opened an office in Brussels only after the Brexit referendum.
Dr Garcia was full of praise for the former Director of Gibraltar House Sir Graham Watson and for his successor Daniel D’Amato. He said that it had been an honour to have had Sir Graham first as an MEP and then as Gibraltar’s representative.
Dr Garcia added that this was his first visit to Brussels as a third country national now that the UK and Gibraltar are third countries which are no longer part of the EU.
“This change had not been easy but now was the time to move past the labels of Remain and Leave in order to concentrate instead on securing the future.”
Dr Garcia stressed the movement of different categories of persons across the border with Spain was essential in order to generate even greater shared prosperity all round.
There were residents, tourists and workers and all three interacted economically with each other and with the wider region.
A common travel area between Gibraltar and the European Union was a possible solution. He made the point that different micro-states inside the geographical territory of the EU had all developed bespoke border relationships with their neighbours.
“I cannot stress enough that a fluid border for residents, workers and tourists would be essential to generate even greater prosperity than we already do”, he said.