GSD calls on UK to reject EU’s Gibraltar guideline
The GSD has called for an unequivocal rejection of the so-called clause 22 to protect Gibraltar’s economic interests.
In welcoming the statements made by UK Government and its Ministers over the weekend, the GSD believes that there has been a focus in those statements on sovereignty commitments and that welcome as these are, the double lock commitment of the UK Government in respect of sovereignty is inviolable and that the attempt to exclude Gibraltar from any UK-EU BREXIT deal requires a complete rejection of the clause.
Yesterday the GSD pointed out how over the next few months the UK and the EU would attempt to agree by consensus a list of issues or an agenda which will be carried forward for negotiation in any Brexit deal, which is the reason why Spain has played its hand early.
It insisted that any inclusion of clause 22 in that consensus list or agenda should be wholly unacceptable for the UK Government.
“This is not about sovereignty. It is about protecting the economic interests of our community in circumstances where we are being singled out at the earliest possible juncture for exclusion,” said the statement.
The GSD highlighted that over the last year it had argued that Gibraltar’s goals should remain simple and that from the outset it had outlined what those goals should be “access to the UK market, access to any trade deals negotiated by the UK with third counties and the EU, together with a sensible agreement in respect of the frontier”.
“Nothing that undermines those objectives should be acceptable to us. In addition, we should continue to attempt to develop alternative non-EU dependent markets,” it further insisted.
The GSD said Gibraltar had always shown it was an agile jurisdiction which can adapt.
“We simply need to get on it. In this regard, the Leader of the Opposition is visiting Morocco for high level meetings. He has already done so on a number of occasions in the past eight months.”
Roy Clinton will be acting Leader of the Opposition in his absence
REACTION HASSAN NAHON
Independent member Marlene Hassan Nahon also raised the issue of clause 22. In a statement yesterday she said she had absolutely no doubt that Gibraltar would survive the Brexit process with its sovereignty unscathed but that as grateful as she was for the Prime Minister’s reassurances and for the British press’ attention she felt this focus on sovereignty missed the point of the potential implications of Clause 22.
Agreeing with the voice who had highlighted that the real peril is in Gibraltar being denied certain rights afforded to the rest of the United Kingdom under the conditions of the Brexit deal, she said she, shared in their concern that the threat of a veto would force the UK Government to compromise on these rights and “essentially making Gibraltarians second-class British citizens within the European continent”.
Apprehensive that Gibraltar will be “short-changed” in a process not of its choosing she said she feared “this will play straight into the hands of Spain’s overall political interests. And while we have already had plenty of experience of Spain’s de facto veto on issues affecting Gibraltar – particularly in the field of aviation – this is of little comfort when, at first glance at least, we might be playing with a weaker hand now that the UK tries to secure a Brexit deal.”
The people of Gibraltar she said would feel more comfortable with a clear declaration from the British Government that the process will not be derailed by Spanish pressure.
“We need the assurance that we will enjoy the same post-Brexit rights as any other citizen or jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, regardless of Spain’s potential response.”
Mrs Hassan Nahon emphasises this is a matter of equal importance as that of sovereignty and requires a similar response.
“After all, a sovereign nation is responsible for the rights and quality of life of all its citizens, and we remain hopeful that, in this, the British government will deliver for the people of Gibraltar. Meanwhile, we must maintain our self-confidence and approach these few weeks with minimum panic and maximum maturity until the 29 April, when the EU guidelines will be edited or confirmed,” she added.
GIB NEW MOVEMENT
Gibraltar’s New Movement has also called for the removal of Clause 22 from the EU Draft.
It says it should never be implemented on “any discussions and agreements” made by Britain and the EU during the Brexit negotiations.
Gibraltar’s New Movement says it is monitoring the process very closely and praises the Chief Minister for his steadfast determination in defending the future of every Gibraltarian’s rights and homeland.