The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce has thrown its weight behind the Chief Minister’s view that a Brexit poses an existentialist threat to the Rock’s currently successful economic model.
In its Annual Report the Chamber also said it supports the creation of the Gibraltar 2025 Committees and other measures that the Government is taking to look at alternative scenarios going forward “in what may prove to be stormy weathers”.
The Chamber highlighted ‘unknowns’ and unanswered questions surrounding the impact of Brexit on the UK, Gibraltar and on the wider EU.
The EU is the biggest single economic bloc in the world, ahead of the US and China. It is also the UK’s biggest trading partner.
The big question and the biggest unknown, the Chamber said, is what would happen to the UK’s economy in the event of the referendum voting for exit.
‘Out’ campaigners claim that the UK would have the best of both worlds post Brexit with free access to European markets minus the shackles and cost of EU membership.
But, “is this realistic?” the Chamber asks.
“Would the remaining EU partners be happy about allowing the UK back into the EU market without hindrance? Is the UK economy too big for the EU to ignore? How would inward investment into the UK be affected? What would be the impact on the economy and on the job market?”
The Chamber underscores that these are all fundamental questions that nobody really knows the answers to, but said that people are expected to vote on either staying or leaving.
There is also the impact Brexit would have on the wider EU. Much will depend on the terms the UK is able to agree before leaving. But if these terms are favourable and include access to the EU markets it is likely that other members will seek to leave.
“The leftovers would be a smaller and weaker Europe. How viable would this be?”
“Hopefully, when it comes to crunch time, UK voters will vote to stay,” the Chamber adds.