Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Brexit Local News

Tailor made post-Brexit solution ‘guarantees British Gibraltar’

Eyleen Gomez

A “purist” Brexit would leave Gibraltar “sitting ducks” for Spain, the Gibraltar Government said on Monday, as it insisted a “tailor made” post-Brexit solution was vital to the Rock’s future.

The statement followed an interview by Conservative MP and chairman of the British Overseas Territories All Party Parliamentary Group Andrew Rosindell who warned that Gibraltar must stay close to the UK and any deviation would be "a dangerous road for Gibraltar to go down".

In response to the article published by the Daily Express, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo tweeted a statement, adding that some of Mr Rosindell’s statements were taken out of context.

The Government had issued this statement to the Express prior to publication, but it had been omitted from the article.

It added that Gibraltar had always sought different agreements to the UK and through the years had benefitted from different solutions.

“In the 48 years we have been members of the EU, we have had a different type of membership to the UK,” the Government said.

“Now, as we leave with Britain, we expect we will also benefit from a differentiated solution.”

“It is therefore wrong to suggest a differentiated solution would somehow cleave us apart from Britain, when the evidence of the past half century demonstrates the opposite.”

The Government added that by having a solution this guarantees Gibraltar’s economic stability that will enable the Rock to remain “strongly British.”

“If insisting on a purist interpretation of Brexit means we fail economically – as we could if we lose mobility at our frontier etc – then we could become a sitting duck,” the Government said.

“The Gibraltar and British Government are therefore carefully working to ensure we have a tailor made solution for Gibraltar which delivers our economic stability and strengthens our Britishness going forward.”

“The alternative – a total, purist, Brexit that leads to an almost inevitable economic collapse by making Gibraltar unviable – would leave us sitting ducks for Spain and would mean that Brexiteers will have unwittingly done the bidding of the Spanish hawks.”

“That is what we will ensure we avoid so that the PP and Vox never succeed in their dreams of taking the sovereignty of Rock.”

“With a differentiated solution – as all parties in Gibraltar’s Parliament have advocated for the past four years since the referendum – we guarantee a British Gibraltar.”

Mr Rosindell  was speaking after unnamed sources told Spanish newspaper El Pais one of the options on the table was for Gibraltar to join the bloc's Customs Union or the Schengen passport-free area.

Mr Rosindell had told Express.co.uk: "The Spanish will use the EU to try to exclude Gibraltar from agreements with the UK, there is no doubt about that, this is what they do

"The government in Gibraltar is pro-EU, although they are also totally dedicated to remaining British and will put that before any ties with the EU."

He added that he couldn’t see how Gibraltar could have any kind of separate ties with the EU, separate from the UK.

"This would be a dangerous road for Gibraltar to go down, they should in my view, stick as closely to Britain as possible,” Mr Rosindell said.

‘We stick with our family’

By Sir Joe Bossano, Minister for Economic Development

Following the recent comments by Andrew Rosindell MP, a member of the all Party

Parliamentary Group, and long standing friend and defender of Gibraltar, in relation to

Brexit, there have been concerns expressed publicly as to the effect on Gibraltar’s

Economic Development if there is a no deal result in the Brexit talks.

As Minister for Economic Development I wish to reassure our people and remind them

that in 2019 General Election I described the post Brexit National Economic Plan as a

strategy for Gibraltar’s Economic Development for the next four years precisely on this

assumption, namely that there would be a no deal Brexit for us, even if there was a

deal done with UK, by the EU.

I do not know what the term “a purist Brexit” is intended to convey but if the

terminology means leaving without a deal, that is what we prepared ourselves for in

2019.

In fact since the 2016 referendum I have consistently, on a number of occasions,

publicly argued that there was a very strong probability that there would be a no deal

result in the negotiations, given the position the EU had adopted from day one which

appeared to require the UK to abandon the objectives they had wanted to achieve by

leaving the EU.

On 31st December we shall be leaving the EU with UK and there is still no indication

of an EU/UK deal for a new relationship as from January.

The 2019 annual general meeting of the GSLP called on the Government to prioritize

the implementation of the National Economic Plan which I am responsible for.

Regrettably the appearance of the Covid pandemic and the lockdown measures to

contain it, which no one could have predicted in 2019, has delayed the implementation

of the economic program but now we have made a start with the recently announced

Elderly Residential Home and other projects are being currently worked on to deliver

them in the next 12 to 18 months.

The lockdown measures to combat the pandemic has brought about a global

recession which has been described as the worst since the 1930s and in the last three

months, for example, has reduced the economic output of the UK by 20% with similar

reductions in other countries in Europe. However I am confident that this will not

impact on our National Economic Plan, but it will have a negative impact on the future

size of our economy and on the level of the revenues of the Government.

But let me be clear that the fact that I’m confident that we can maintain a better

economic performance than others does not mean that we can simply ignore what is

going on in the rest of the world as if it had no effect on us.

The impact of the global economy on our potential customers will have an effect on

our future economic performance and this is likely to be more severe and longer

lasting than leaving the European Union without an agreement on a new relationship.

Our land frontier with Spain since 1986 has been an external border for goods,

because we negotiated terms in 1972, not being in the custom union for example,

which are unlikely to be available to us now. But there is no reason why our country

should not have fluidity at the external border of the EU, as a non-member country

because others have it.

If the present Government of Spain sees mutual benefit and value in this, we should

explore the possibility conscious of the lesson of the Cordoba agreement which was

eliminated after a change of Government in Spain.

Having said that, we need to remember that we have been members of the British

family of Nations for 316 years and associated with the EEC/EU in the last 47.

If at any point it emerges that a new relationship with the EU requires us to choose

between the two, the wedge that worries our friend Andrew Rosindell, the choice is

simple, we stick with our family.