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Picardo meets Maltese PM to discuss Brexit

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo met with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat yesterday in a bid to explore post-Brexit commercial and economic links between the countries.

Both countries have a historic relationship and Mr Picardo’s visit aimed to underscore the latest local developments since the UK voted to leave the EU.

Mr Picardo also told Mr Muscat the Gibraltar Government was exploring every available option following the Gibraltar’s overwhelming vote to remain within the EU.

The Gibraltar delegation included the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, Attorney General Michael Llamas and UK Representative Dominique Searle.

The local delegation also met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs George Vella, the Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna and the Chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority Joe Bannister.

"I am very grateful to the Government of Malta who have extended every hospitality to me and my team,” Mr Picardo said.

“We have explored the development of commercial and economic links between Gibraltar and Malta.”

“There is a long and historic relationship between our two nations which we want to progress further and which we trust will extend to all areas of commercial activity where mutual benefit can be established."

Mr Picardo’s visit to Malta will not go unnoticed in Spain, which is keeping close tabs on who the Gibraltar Government is lobbying in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Just last week, Spain’s acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel García-Margallo said the Spanish government had contacted the Maltese Government over Gibraltar to push Spain’s perspective.

Sr García-Margallo’s comments came after a brief encounter with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in Brussels.

Sr García-Margallo indicated that Spain was reacting to Gibraltar’s lobbying efforts, both in Brussels and elsewhere.

“Mr Picardo has requested to speak to Malta and Cyprus, in the same way that he had requested some meetings in Brussels which I will not mention,” Sr García-Margallo said at the time.

“Naturally, our duty is to inform those people who Mr Picardo wants to meet of what the Spanish position is.”

However, the Gibraltar Government was unfazed by this, describing Sr García-Margallo “obsessive and repetitive”.

The government’s visit to Malta is a result of the many parallels and similarities that can be drawn against both countries.

Although Malta joined Britain in 1800, the country became independent in 1964 and is now a member of both the Commonwealth and of the European Union.

Mr Picardo and Dr Garcia will return to Gibraltar today.

Photo by Malta DOI