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Wait for MoU, says Hassan Nahon

Independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon has said it is important to wait for the Memoranda of Understanding between Gibraltar and Spain to be published before analysing what the Brexit draft withdrawal agreement means for the Rock.

Ms Hassan Nahon was reacting to Brexit developments in the UK including news that Prime Minister Theresa May had secured Cabinet backing for the draft withdrawal agreement.

She flagged how Mrs May must still take the deal before the UK Parliament for consideration.

“As things stand, there is a lot of uncertainty within Mrs May’s Cabinet leaving Gibraltar by consequence, at the mercy of the goings on in Westminster with the very real possibility of us having to completely go back to the drawing board if the deal doesn’t go through,” Ms Hassan Nahon said.

“I therefore believe that the most reasonable position for us to take at this juncture is to wait until the Memoranda of Understanding paper is out in the open in order to present an informed view of what the proposals mean for us at this crucial moment in our history.”

Nonetheless, and in analysing the agreement and what it means for Gibraltar, the Independent MP underscored that Gibraltar’s sovereignty and Constitutional position is protected, and that some sort of arrangement with Spain is being entered into.

“However, the fact of the matter is that this document is just one of many papers being worked on and it is therefore vital to wait until the other documents, namely the Memoranda of Understanding between Gibraltar and Spain, are out in the open before offering an informed view on the matter of withdrawal arrangements and what they mean for Gibraltar,” she said.

“How the points relating to Gibraltar in the draft withdrawal agreement are set to be delivered will all be dependent on the added papers, which will be disclosed, in the coming weeks.”

At this point, she said, it has to be noted that in any case any deal entered into is only valid until 2020.

“This reality needs to be taken into serious account so that moving forward, any deal entered into will have the potential to enjoy longevity beyond these 18-24 months, including the consideration of long-term impacts on sectors and industries and how to counter them,” Ms Hassan Nahon said.

Gibraltar’s unions and business organisations have also sketched out their initial reactions to the latest Brexit salvo.

Although still digesting the 500-page document and what it means for the Rock, the Gibraltar branch of Unite the Union indicated it was pleased that the terms of the agreement includes a stipulation that the transitional period will apply to Gibraltar.

But, according to branch chairman Christian Duo, Unite remains sceptical that the agreement will pass through the UK Parliament.

Similarly, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce told the Chronicle that in relation to Gibraltar-specific issues a lot of that detail will be contained within the Memorandum of Understanding whoch is yet to be published.

“The devil will be in the detail,” said Chamber President Christian Hernandez.

Additionally, Mr Hernandez highlighted the fact that the draft deal must be backed by the UK Parliament and expressed doubt that this would happen.

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