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Gibraltar must be prepared ‘ask less and do more’ ahead of Brexit

Johnny Bugeja

As Brexit fast approaches Gibraltarians must be prepared to ask for less and to do more in order to secure the Rock’s future for generations to come.

That was the message from Chief Minister Fabian Picardo last night as he delivered a New Years’ address as the Rubicon of EU departure looms.

In line with this he set out plans to create a new ‘Rainy Day Fund’ to guarantee that Scholarships are always available in the future as well as plans to further strengthen Gibraltar’s public finances and ensure that “abuses by some” are properly dealt with.

Mr Picardo reiterated that Gibraltar is ready for the challenges posed by Brexit which will be “softened” by the Rock’s inclusion in the transition period.

Any potential consequences will come at the end of the transitional period but solutions are already in hand, he said.

“We will be more than ready by then,” the Chief Minister said.

“Because we have worked and continue to work hard to ensure that Gibraltar is not caught out in any way.”

“And we must all now work together going forward to deliver for Gibraltar.”

“We must all be ready to do our bit and contribute fairly as Gibraltar stares down the challenges before us.”

“That means every one of us.”

“Each of us has to be ready to ask for less from our nation and to do more to secure our children’s future.”

“Because Gibraltarians don’t run away from difficult challenges.”

“We run over them.”

“We run over them with hard work and, if necessary, stoic sacrifice.”

“That is what characterised the generations that came before us,” Mr Picardo said.

Reflecting on political developments in Spain, Mr Picardo said he hopes the Spanish Government is ready to work with Gibraltar for the mutual benefit of citizens on both sides of the frontier.

“A sensible, responsible future relationship is, after all, a key component of limiting friction at our border with the EU,” he said.

“But let me be clear: The Government I lead is equally willing to walk away if the terms proposed do not favour Gibraltar or respect our red lines.”

“Make no mistake,” he said: “Our sovereignty, our jurisdiction and our exclusive control of our affairs are all non-negotiable.”

“We will use our veto to protect every aspect of these.”

“So there is no question of bilateralism over Gibraltar.”

“And we will negotiate for a fair deal.”

“For a deal that works for us and those around us.”

“A deal that protects us, our economy and those who commute into Gibraltar every day to work here, who are an essential part of our success.”

“As well as a deal that protects the access to Gibraltar of those who come here as tourists or clients of our many and diverse businesses.”

See full message on page 17 of our print or e-edition or https://www.chronicle.gi/gibraltarians-dont-run-away-from-difficult-challenges-chief-ministers-new-year-message-2020/