UK must ensure ‘sensible and workable’ border for Gibraltar, GSD says
The British Government should use all “political and economic incentives” in forthcoming Brexit negotiations to ensure a “sensible and workable” agreement for Gibraltar’s border with Spain, the GSD said yesterday.
In a statement, the Opposition noted the change in tone between Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis and his predecessor, José Manuel García-Margallo.
But it warned that Gibraltar must be on its guard because the Spanish strategy presented “dangers” for the Rock.
While Sr García-Margallo former spoke belligerently about taking advantage of Brexit to exclude Gibraltar from any deal negotiated by the UK, Sr Dastis “knows that the border is a critical issue for Gibraltar”.
“Consequently, Spain need not push the issue but rather await EU developments and UK negotiations that may play into Spain’s hands,” the GSD said.
The GSD said that Sr Dastis had sought to appear reasonable to British interests by stating that Spain would support the UK in reaching a sensible Brexit deal with the EU that will accommodate the UK in areas which are important to the latter, including financial services access to the Single Market for the City of London.
But the Opposition also noted that the Spanish minister had made it clear that if the UK wants to control the movement of people at its borders, so too will the European Union and Spain in the other direction.
“In that context, we agree with the views expressed by the former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that Gibraltar must fight tooth and nail to make sure that we are not at the bottom of the list of priorities for the UK Government,” Opposition Leader Daniel Feetham said.
“Only the UK can bring pressure to bear on Spain and the EU to ensure there is a sensible and workable agreement at the border with Gibraltar.”
“The UK Government should take into account the consequences for Gibraltar of placing control over the movement of people at the centre of its political agenda.”
“There are 400,000 UK nationals that live in Spain and nearly 80,000 Spaniards who live in the UK.”
“There is also considerable private investment from both countries in each other.”
“The political and economic incentives for the UK to reach a sensible Brexit agreement are there.”
“The UK Government should use all incentives in order to ensure that the border between Spain and Gibraltar operates sensibly.”
“That, the GSD believes, is where we should focus our main lobbying efforts.”