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La Linea’s Juan Franco ‘very concerned’ over treaty prospects ahead of Madrid meeting

Photos by Johnny Bugeja

By Maria Jesus Corrales

La Linea mayor Juan Franco admitted yesterday that he was “very concerned” about the ongoing negotiation for a UK/EU treaty on Gibraltar, acknowledging too that La Linea’s economy was heavily dependent on Gibraltar and a fluid border,

He was speaking as Campo mayors and the Mancomunidad de Municipios travelled to Madrid to meet José Manuel Albares, Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, for an update on the progress of the talks.

“The news seems to be contradictory depending on which authority is speaking, and I am sincerely very concerned about this issue,” he said ahead of the meeting.

Mr Franco said a third of La Linea’s workforce was employed in Gibraltar and a third of the turnover of its companies depended on Gibraltarian clients.

“Our economy depends largely on what happens with Gibraltar,” he said.

“So I hope that there will be time left and that this will be resolved in the best possible way for our interests.”

Mr Franco said that six years after the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016, Madrid had yet to take any specific measures to help mitigate the impact on La Linea.

“Not a single exceptional measure has been adopted in La Línea, the only municipality within continental Europe with a Brexit border,” he said.

“This is what strikes me the most.”

On Thursday, Spanish media reported that Spain’s president, Pedro Sanchez, and the president of the Junta de Andalucia, Juan Manuel Moreno, would visit San Roque to attend a presentation by Cepsa on its plans to develop green hydrogen projects in its Campo refinery.

The focus of the visit if the oil major’s plans to invest up to eight billion euros over the next 10 years to transition to greener energy.

But it comes too as UK/EU negotiators are expected to meet in the coming days for another round of negotiations in a bid to reach agreement on a treaty for Gibraltar’s post-Brexit relations with the bloc.

Last night the UK ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, told GBC thatall sides in the negotiation were “very committed” to securing a deal and that he was not contemplating a ‘no deal’ scenario.

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