‘Where does this leave Gibraltar?’ - Azopardi
Keith Azopardi, the Leader of the Opposition, welcomed news of the UK/EU deal on a future relationship “in principle”, but asked as fundamental question: “Where does that leave Gibraltar?”
Mr Azopardi said that until a deal was reached for Gibraltar, the new would “mean nothing” for Gibraltarians and would be meaningless to their quality of life.
“It would be a supreme irony for the UK to leave the EU with a deal and for the only British territory in mainland Europe that overwhelmingly wanted to stay in the EU to be sacrificed at the altar of political expediency,” he told the Chronicle.
“The Gibraltar Government repeatedly promised that the UK were negotiating for the whole ‘British family’ so how can the British Prime Minister say that ‘Brexit has been done’ in announcing this deal without a safe and beneficial agreement for Gibraltar having been reached?”
“It is not a positive feature of what is happening today that Gibraltar has been apparently disconnected from the announcement of the wider UK deal.”
“So the big elephant in the room is where does this leave Gibraltar?”
Mr Azopardi said it would amount to “a failure of policy for Gibraltar” not to see “a safe and beneficial” agreement extended to the Rock.
“And we will suffer a double whammy if the UK not only delivers an unwanted Brexit to us but doesn’t ensure that we also achieve a safe agreement at the same time as the UK,” he said.
“It brings into play the prospect that we would not have a safe deal while the UK bags one for itself.”
And he added: “When and if an agreement is announced that extends to Gibraltar we will scrutinise the detail and evaluate whether it is a bad or good deal for Gibraltar.”
“Clearly it is important for efforts to continue towards achieving this by the end of the transitional period and to ensure we are not now the only part of the British EU that leaves without a deal.”
‘FENDING FOR OURSELVES’
Marlene Hassan Nahon, the Leader of Together Gibraltar, said the agreement announced on Christmas Eve was good news for the EU and the UK.
And she added it would “hopefully” be a precursor to a positive Gibraltar deal that allowed for prosperous neighbourly relations with the EU, while respecting the Rock’s red lines.
“Unfortunately, at this time we still do not know what future awaits us if the ongoing UK/Gib/Spain negotiations fail,” she said.
“We were promised by Boris Johnson that we would be included in any future deal, but this appears to not be true.”
“We have once again been left to fend for ourselves.”
“I wish our Government the best of luck for the crucial coming hours and days.”