‘Treaty within the coming months’, Daryanani tells UK newspaper
The Minister for Tourism and Business, Vijay Daryanani, told British newspaper The Telegraph a treaty allowing freedom of movement between Gibraltar and the EU would be likely be sealed “within the coming months”.
In the news story published on Monday, Mr Daryanani described how the treaty would facilitate post-Brexit mobility between the Rock and the Schengen area, opening up opportunities for tourism and trade.
Mr Daryanani said such a deal could bring major economic benefits to Gibraltar and Spain, but stressed there would be no impact on sovereignty.
“There'll be no concessions whatsoever on sovereignty, jurisdiction or control,” Mr Daryanani told the Telegraph.
“That is one of the things that Gibraltarians and the Government are 100 per cent sure of.”
He added, he thinks negotiations are in a “good place”.
“We hope that we can have a treaty within the coming months,” Mr Daryanani said.
“We'd like to think that we could get somewhere by the end of this year.”
He said it would mean 16,000 people who cross the border daily to work in Gibraltar’s hospitals, hotels, restaurants and other businesses would be able to travel into the territory without passport checks.
“We have more jobs than people, we need them to come and work in Gibraltar,” he said.
Mr Daryanani said Gibraltar also spends “a lot of money in that area of Spain [meaning the Campo and Cadiz province]”, describing how there would be reciprocal benefits to an agreement.
But the benefits of a deal could potentially be wider.
For Mr Daryanani, the treaty could “open up a whole slew of different possibilities of marketing Gibraltar as a tourism destination in the whole of Europe”.
More generally, he said Gibraltar’s status as a holiday destination had been boosted by the pandemic after becoming one of the first countries to fully vaccinate its population.
However, he admitted Gibraltar needed to boost its hotel provision from its current 800-capacity if it was to fulfil its ambition.
“We realise that we need to build more hotels to accommodate leisure travellers,” he said.
It is planning a potential doubling in capacity over the next five years with “firm interest” from three or four hotels to open there, said Mr Daryanani.
“People have realised that Gibraltar can be a very good holiday destination,” he added.
“There is a lot of interest and I think this has come about because of the pandemic.”