‘Scope for progress’ in treaty talks, but ‘complex and difficult’ issues remain
The fifth round of UK-EU negotiations for a treaty on the future relationship of Gibraltar with the European Union concluded in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon, with the Gibraltar Government signalling “scope for progress” despite “complex and difficult” matters left to resolve.
The discussions, which commenced on Tuesday, covered a wide range of different areas, No.6 Convent Place said, although it gave no further detail.
The talks were held “in a friendly and constructive manner”, the Government said.
“There is scope for progress on a number of areas and for further discussion on more complex and difficult matters,” it added.
The Attorney General Michael Llamas participated in person in the meeting, assisted by the Director of Gibraltar House in Brussels, Daniel D’Amato.
The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister connected into the meeting virtually, as they have done in earlier meetings.
“The Government remains firmly committed to secure a treaty based on the political framework agreed together with the United Kingdom and Spain on 31 December 2020,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.
“In the meantime, and as has happened so far, there will be ongoing engagement with Spain at different levels.”
The negotiators hope to reach an agreement by March allowing a common travel area between Gibraltar and the Schengen zone.
Spain, as neighbouring country, would take responsibility on behalf of the EU for Schengen immigration checks in Gibraltar, but Frontex officers would carry out the actual physical controls on the ground, at least for the first four years.
There is also the possibility of a bespoke arrangement on customs.