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Brexit

Key Spanish diplomat in post-Brexit talks dies suddenly

A meeting of the MoU committee environment committee in the Garrison Library in Gibraltar last August. Mr Garcia Ferrer is fifth from the right.

One of the key Spanish diplomats involved in negotiations over Gibraltar’s post-Brexit relations with the EU has died suddenly.

Antonio García Ferrer, the Director of the Office of Gibraltar Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Madrid, died on Sunday.

As the head of Madrid’s Gibraltar desk since 2015, Mr García had been deeply involved in the negotiations for the Withdrawal Agreement and in the implementation of the commitments set out in the Memorandums of Understanding stemming from the Gibraltar Protocol.

Over recent years, he had built a strong working relationship with the Gibraltar and UK negotiating teams, participating in meetings of the MoU committee against the backdrop of talks on the future relationship.

On Monday, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo sent his personal condolences and those of the Government of Gibraltar to Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya.

In his letter, Mr Picardo referred to Mr Garcia’s “efforts and generosity" during the many negotiations to achieve a consensus over Gibraltar on the UK’s exit from the EU.

The Chief Minister said Mr Garcia had become “…a valued colleague and won the respect and friendship of the Gibraltar negotiators.”

Mr Picardo asked the Foreign Minister to convey his personal condolences and that of his team to the bereaved family and colleagues of the Spanish negotiator.

There were condolences too from mayors in the Campo de Gibraltar, who had also worked closely with Mr García over recent years.

“He was an open person with a broad understanding of the situation in the Campo, its relations with the Rock and its international and local perspectives,” said Juan Franco, the mayor of La Linea.

“His death is a sad loss at a personal level but also at a professional level too, given his post was closely linked to the future of this city.”