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GSD gives ‘cautious welcome’ to Gib agreement

The GSD said it “cautiously welcomes” the political agreement for Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU, but said “big questions” remained on the detail of the deal.

In a statement, the GSD said the public had “a right to know” those details and that any “collective sigh of relief” should be tempered until the precise arrangements were known.

The GSD pointed to “differences” in the content of the announcements made in Gibraltar and Spain.

It said Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya “was quite clear in her view that this is a bilateral agreement that has been reached which gives Spain responsibilities over Schengen checks in Gibraltar”.

“This appears not to be Gibraltar’s position and whether Spain would exercise controls or jurisdiction in Gibraltar requires clarification,” the party added.

“It would be unacceptable for there to be any prospect of Spanish officers exercising jurisdiction in Gibraltar.”

The GSD said it had long called for “a safe and beneficial” agreement for Gibraltar that had mobility of persons at its core, unlocking economic opportunities without concessions on sovereignty, jurisdiction and control.

“It is however impossible to comment on specific issues as we have not seen the detailed text of the framework of principles that appears to have been agreed today,” Mr Azopardi said.

“This is an in principle framework that is not just about Schengen but also touches on fiscal issues, the environment or customs union.”

“It’s important to know what has precisely been agreed.”

“Additionally this is not a legally binding deal. That legally binding and enforceable agreement will only come when and if a formal treaty is signed up to between the EU and UK over Gibraltar.”

“What has happened today is positive because it allows that process of drafting and negotiation to open. But that is all it is.”

“The deal has not been done.”

“It won’t be done and there won’t be a deal in the bag till a legally binding agreement is entered into.”

“Until that happens and the details become public it will be impossible to evaluate whether this is a good, safe and beneficial deal for Gibraltar.”

“We welcome it for what it is - a first step which keeps the possibility of a safe and beneficial agreement alive and averts a hard Brexit.”

“We also welcome that in the interim and until an agreement is reached the frontier will be operated ‘flexibly’ by Spain.”

“How and what transitional arrangements will operate over the next few months also need to be explained in some detail.”