Govt urges Gibraltar to prepare for possibility of no-deal Brexit
The Gibraltar Government has urged citizens and businesses in Gibraltar to ensure they take steps to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
Although UK ministers insist they are working to leave the EU with a deal, the potential to crash out of the bloc remains a real possibility.
Last week, the European Commission published a call to Member States and stakeholders to ensure that all necessary preparedness and contingency measures were in place in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The Commission said that it did not plan any new measures before the latest withdrawal date of 31 October.
The statement from Brussels prompted the Gibraltar Government top reiterate the need for Gibraltar to ensure it was ready for any eventuality.
“It is important that businesses and citizens familiarise themselves with the advice that the Government has issued so far,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.
The government has published 15 technical notices offering advice on different issues ranging from passports and driving licences to healthcare, EU funding and waste management.
“It will be recalled that Gibraltar was specifically singled out and excluded from EU contingency measures at the behest of Spain,” the government said.
“It was then included in the EU visa regulation, with an offensive footnote, as well as in unilateral contingency plans published by the Spanish Government in respect of British Citizens living in the United Kingdom and in Gibraltar.”
No.6 said the Gibraltar and UK governments had engaged in “intense preparations” for a no deal Brexit ahead of earlier exit deadlines that later slipped.
These plans were scaled back following the extension until 31 October that was agreed between the UK and the EU.
The Brexit Executive Group, which is chaired by the Chief Secretary, has nonetheless continued its meetings throughout and the engagement with the UK Government has also continued at political and official level.
The Brexit Strategic Group, composed of senior officials and chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, has now reconvened in order to review the state of readiness and the updated planning.
The latest meeting included the Chief Secretary Darren Grech, Commissioner of Police Ian McGrail, Collector of Customs John Rodriguez, Parliamentary Counsel Paul Peralta, Richard Montado, Ivor Lopez the Civil Contingency Coordinator and Ernest Francis from the Office of the Deputy Chief Minister.
The group went through the revised “Common Operating Procedure” and was updated on the work of separate groups covering the supply chain, supply routes, commerce, critical services, health and social care, law and order, public services, legislation and data protection.
“There is continuous engagement between officials of the Government of Gibraltar and of the United Kingdom both with regard to preparations for a no deal Brexit but also to prepare for negotiations on the future,” Dr Garcia said.
“The two work-streams are running parallel to each other. It is important that citizens and businesses familiarise themselves with the advice that has been given in the eventuality that the United Kingdom and Gibraltar leave the European Union without an agreement.”
“The preferred position of the Government of Gibraltar is that the UK revokes article 50 and remains in the European Union or a referendum.”
“However, we need to continue to prepare for every eventuality and that includes leaving on 31 October without a deal.”
The technical guidance notices can be found here.