Llamas flags Brexit concerns on justice and environment
The Attorney General, Michael Llamas, QC, has said he is “very worried” about the possibility of losing certain legal instruments used to help combat crime in the process of withdrawal from the European Union.
In an interview with GBC’s Viewpoint programme Mr Llamas flagged up justice, home and environmental affairs and expressed concern for the implications Brexit could have on them.
“We are very worried about losing a lot of the gateways and a lot of the measures and the instruments which the EU have adopted in the area of justice and home affairs which are extremely effective and help to combat crime on a trans-national basis,” he said.
He pointed to mutual legal assistance, the European arrest warrant, Europol and the intelligence aspect of the Schengen system as examples and said these things were “extremely important” for the Royal Gibraltar Police and must be taken into account.
On environmental matters, Mr Llamas said the position locally would be similar to what the position in the United Kingdom is going to be.
Horizontally to that Mr Llamas also expressed concern over what could happen in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and the ‘designation of Spanish sites’ in maritime waters.
“It has already happened in the context of the Habitats Directive whilst the UK has been a member of the EU,” he said.
“What’s going to happen when the UK is no longer present in the working groups that decide what these designations are and Spain will be able to act with a large measure of impunity in being able to designate more and more sites as allegedly or purportedly being Spanish sites which are within BGTW?”
Mr Llamas therefore highlighted the need to discuss these matters ‘very carefully’.
Mr Llamas was also asked for his view on statements made last week by Brexit Minister David Davis regarding Gibraltar.
Mr Davis told a House of Commons select committee that he would be “loath” to seek a special agreement for Gibraltar or Northern Ireland in a Brexit negotiation.
But he did not rule out such agreement and also acknowledged the fact that Gibraltar had a “differentiated status” within the EU to that of the UK.
But far from dealing a blow to Gibraltar with those remarks, Mr Llamas said Brexit Minister is saying exactly the same thing as the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo.
“The Chief Minister’s position here is that we’ve got the status we have and the exemptions we have and that is the starting point in any negotiation and I think that’s absolutely right,” Mr Llamas said.
“We are not part of certain aspects of the application of EU law, notably we are not part of the Customs Union and going into the negotiations that is the Gibraltar Government’s starting point and I think that is a very logical position to have.”
Mr Llamas further highlighted how Mr Davis in his intervention went on to say that he was determined to get a free-flowing border in Ireland.
That, he said, is different to the deal that the UK Government is going to want for the whole of the UK because restrictions at borders was one of the big issues that prompted the Brexit vote.
“So within the package of the deal that the UK wants, it’s already anticipating that it’s going to want a different system in the Irish border to the rest of the borders in the UK.”
“And that is the difference that we are looking at for Gibraltar as well,” he said.