GSD questions Govt’s ‘about turn’ on Brexit
The new this week that Gibraltar is preparing for ‘a hard Brexit’ was described by the GSD last night as ‘an about turn’ in government policy.
The Opposition was reacting after James Tipping, the Finance Centre Director, told the European Parliament that while Gibraltar expects new opportunities for its financial services sector despite the challenges of Brexit, it did not expect any special concessions.
“We are currently planning for a hard Brexit, but with a firm commitment from the United Kingdom government to maintain and broaden access to their financial markets from Gibraltar,” Mr Tipping said.
In a statement, the GSD said it was “surprising” that such an announcement had come from a government official.
“It signals an about turn in Government policy on Brexit,” the Opposition said.
“It is wrong that such a fundamental change of policy has not been made public by the Chief Minister or another Government Minister.”
“It is surprising that it was not announced in Gibraltar but to an EU Parliament committee in Brussels.”
The GSD said such a negotiating concession should not have been made now “or at all”, even in the context of clause 24 of the EU negotiating guidelines, which give Spain a veto over the application of any UK/EU agreement to Gibraltar.
It further said the Parliamentary Select Committee dealing with Brexit should have been asked for input before such a shift in policy was adopted and made public.
“The Government has shifted its policy on Brexit on too many occasions from seeking accommodation with the EU hand in hand with Scotland, to exploring ‘reverse Greenland’ models, to ‘city state’ solutions,” the GSD said.
“The GSD has maintained throughout that Gibraltar should seek to keep a fluid frontier, ask for as much free access as possible to the EU market and persist with all available free access into the UK following Brexit, whilst resisting Spain’s claim to sovereignty.”
The party added: “The GSD will continue to pursue these objectives for the good of Gibraltar.”
“It will seek the support of the UK in achieving them, hoping also to work with the Government in doing so but the GSD depends on the Government for inclusion in the process.”