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‘Positive approach’ from all sides in first round of Gib treaty talks

Photo: Mauro Bottaro/European Commission

The first round of talks on the future relationship of Gibraltar with the European Union started in Brussels on Monday and will continue today, in a two-day session focused on presenting respective positions at the start of negotiations.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said there was “a positive approach” from all sides ahead of intense negotiations that will be fraught with complexity as the parties seek to hammer out a treaty to define Gibraltar’s post-Brexit relations with the bloc.

The meeting in Brussels was attended by officials from the UK and the EU, with officials from Gibraltar also present alongside their UK counterparts.

After this initial meeting, two further rounds of talks are scheduled for November and another in December, an EU official said.

Gibraltar’s Attorney General, Michael Llamas, and the Gibraltar representative in Brussels, Daniel D’Amato, were present in the negotiating room on Monday.

The Chief Minister, who was on his final day of isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, connected virtually to the meeting, as did the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia.

Mr Picardo, who returns to his office on Tuesday, delivered an opening statement for Gibraltar.

He expressed the hope that the process will end positively and stressed the commitment of the Government of Gibraltar to work constructively towards a solution in all areas.

The Chief Minister explained the importance of a fluid border to many thousands of citizens, of all nationalities, on both sides.

He outlined too the desire to expand even further the shared prosperity that such fluidity has already generated.

“I was very pleased to be able to kick off the negotiation today for Gibraltar,” Mr Picardo said.

“Today is an important day as the process of this negotiation is now under way.”

“I am pleased to say that I believe that there was a positive approach on display from all in the negotiating room.”

“I remain optimistic and believe it will be possible to find a route to a treaty, although I am also realistic enough to know that we could still fail.”

“I will continue to work towards resolving issues positively in a manner that protects all our important and fundamental equities and does not compromise us in any of those key areas.”

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