‘Gibraltar is not only relevant to Spain’, Picardo tells El Pais
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has told the El Pais newspaper the UK has made clear there will be no EU deal without Gibraltar. He warned in an interview this could in effect slow down the Brexit negotiations.
Mr Picardo stated he did not rule out dialogue in an atmosphere of co-operation and of mutual respect which would deal amongst others with issues of education and the environment.
“All but sovereignty,” he stressed.
Reiterating it should be within the framework of a tripartite forum.
The Chief Minister, when asked to comment on the UKIP spokesman proposing that Gibraltar be fully integrated into the UK in the European Parliament recently , he did not completely rule out integration.
Mr Picardo said that although he was not a of such an alternative it was “a possible model for the future”.
He also said that if Spain continued to push Gibraltar “a movement could grow calling for integration”.
Quizzed about the Prime Minister’s letter triggering Article 50, and whether it had been an error that no specific mention was made of Gibraltar, suggesting the Rock was not a priority for the UK, Mr Picardo responded, that having discussed the issue for almost seven months and considered all the options, having taken a tactically-strategic decision, he did not believe this could be taken as an error.
“It is impossible that a three page letter could priorities details in such a complex process. But if someone in Spain wanted to believe this... “
Questioned on whether the intention OF THE EU AND SPAIN was that the Gibraltar problem did not “contaminate” the negotiations or allow it to become a stumbling block, the Chief Minister replied, the intention was clear “... that Gibraltar did not form a part of any future negotiations between the UK and the EU, if there are any, just because Spain delights in hurting Gibraltar, but Spain does not want to veto an agreement which will be of benefit to her, since she has a commercial surplus of five million pounds with the UK. “
It was not reasonable for Spain to think that Gibraltar was only relevant to them, he added.
Dialogue said the Chief Minister remained on the table and he was willing to sit down and talk about tax issues, education or the environment. But it had to be in an atmosphere of co-operation and of mutual respect.
The UK and Gibraltar continued to bet heavily on the tripartite forum, he added, but Gibraltar did not accept the bilateral framework between Madrid and London.
This, he told El Pais, belonged to the past: “Spain did not accept the trilateral and raised the quadripartite but that did not work for anyone”.
“What I say is, let's forget about that. Let us not make a list of what should be on the table but of the topics to be discussed. All but sovereignty,” he reiterated.
Mr Picardo, also told the newspaper, there was now a vehicle that allowed “us to work together even if we do not speak, which is the EU, [but] when we leave the Union, that will no longer exist”.
“Let's sit down and talk about how we get on with it. My will is to do everything possible so that we can continue to co-operate. I stretch out my hand,” he added.
Mr Picardo insisted all the parties had red lines - Britain, Gibraltar and Spain - but that within those red lines it was possible to create a common ground without anyone having to cross their own boundaries.
Mr. Dastis, he said, who is a diplomat “understands this better than I do, I am a politician. Let's look at that common ground in order to start talking, without shouting or vetoing us.”
“Let’s stop talking about talking and let’s talk,” he added.