A UK exit from the EU would have “serious implications” for Gibraltar, the British Government said yesterday as it warned there would be “no certainty” that the border with Spain would remain open in that scenario.
The stark warning was included in a 23-page document published yesterday in which the British Government said the process of leaving the EU would be “unprecedented and unpredictable”.
A British exit from the bloc could lead to 10 years or more of damaging uncertainty while a new relationship with both the EU and other countries was negotiated, the report concluded.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who earlier this month agreed a deal with other EU leaders to reform Britain’s relationship with the bloc, is campaigning for an ‘In’ vote in a referendum on UK membership to be held on June 23 although a number of his own ministers back a British exit.
“There would be serious implications for Gibraltar were the UK to withdraw from the EU,” the document said.
“Inside the EU, Gibraltarians have the right to move freely to Spain, and the right to establish a business and provide services there.”
“But, before Spain joined the EU in 1986, the border was closed from 1969–85. If the UK left the EU, there would be no certainty that the border would remain open.”
“The Chief Minister of Gibraltar has said that this would pose ‘an existential threat in economic terms’ to the territory.”
The report, which was presented to the British Parliament by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, added that the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man – which enjoy special arrangements for access to the EU – would face similar uncertainties.
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Pic by DM Parody