A “managed” and “sensible” Brexit is in the best interests of both Spain and Gibraltar, Dr Joseph Garcia, the Deputy Chief Minister, said yesterday.
Dr Garcia, Gibraltar’s Minister for Brexit, was addressing students from the College of Further Education, Bayside and Westside Schools following a presentation delivered by a group who had returned from a visit to the EU institutions in Brussels.
Dr Garcia explained that there were 12,000 people, mostly Spanish nationals, who live in Spain and work in Gibraltar and who count on a fluid border in order to make a living.
He told those present that 25% of the GDP of the surrounding area of Spain is generated by Gibraltar and added that Gibraltar is the second largest employer for Andalucia after its regional Government.
Dr Garcia rejected the proposal by former Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo for shared sovereignty between the UK and Spain as the price to pay for remaining in the European Union.
He outlined the work that the Government has done so far in relation to Brexit, from meetings with the UK Government including Prime Minister Theresa May, to a comprehensive statistical analysis of the impact of leaving the European Union across every area of Government and across the private sector in Gibraltar.
He also went over the lobbying work that continued to be conducted both in public and behind the scenes.
This on-going work was designed to best protect the position of Gibraltar, the Government said in a statement.
Dr Garcia said that even today different parts of the British family of nations enjoyed a different degree of participation with the European Union.
He went on to detail the procedure for departure from the European Union under Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon.
Gibraltar and the UK will remain in the EU and entitled to the rights bestowed by EU membership until the moment of departure in years to come.
Even then, Gibraltar would continue to maintain a relationship with the European Union, No. 6 Convent Place said.
He thanked those students who went on the educational visit to Brussels and encouraged others to participate in the next one.