Trade on the agenda at London meeting
The UK will be “steadfast” in its support for Gibraltar and ensure the Rock’s needs are reflected as Britain “bangs the drum” of British business after Brexit, ministers in London said this week.
The message followed the second meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council on Gibraltar EU Negotiations in Whitehall on Wednesday.
One new ministerial addition to the JMC meeting this time round came in the form of Lord Price, the UK’s International Trade Minister.
“The UK is banging the drum for British businesses across a range of international markets and we are committed to taking the needs of Gibraltar and other Overseas Territories into account during this process,” Lord Price said after the meeting.
“That’s why I was pleased to be part of today’s meeting to discuss the place of Gibraltar in the global trade agenda.”
“This forum provides a welcome opportunity to hear from Gibraltar on their priorities and ensure we’re working together as we look towards our future as a global leader on free trade.”
Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan, the UK’s Minister for Europe, left no doubt as to Britain’s commitment to Gibraltar.
“UK is steadfast in our support for Gibraltar, its people and its economy,” he said after the meeting.
“As the UK leaves the EU, we are making sure we understand the priorities of Overseas Territories, including Gibraltar, so that the new relationship with the EU works for all.”
“The JMC, and the useful discussion today, is a key part of that dialogue.”
The message was echoed by Robin Walker, the Minister for Exiting the European Union, who has taken the lead role for the UK in discussions with Gibraltar about Brexit.
“We recognise that Gibraltar has particular interests, and that is why this dedicated forum is vital,” Mr Walker said.
“It gives us the opportunity to discuss Gibraltar’s priorities and ensure their interests are taken into account.”
“We have had a useful and informative discussion today and I will continue to engage with Gibraltar throughout the negotiations, as we forge a new relationship with the EU and look outward into the world.”
“As the Lords’ report [on Gibraltar] has recognised, the UK has a responsibility to represent Gibraltar in these negotiations and we will do so better informed as a result of this process.”
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who led the Gibraltar Government delegation to the JMC, said the meeting had offered “an excellent opportunity” to engage with the three lead departments in the UK Government which are important to Gibraltar in the context of Brexit. “Together we have looked at the politics of Brexit, we have looked at how our exit from the EU can create new opportunities for Gibraltar and how new partners around the world can work with us to create many of these new opportunities,” he said.