Britain should explore “nuanced arrangements” for Gibraltar within its wider UK Brexit deal, GSD chairman Robert Vasquez has said in a submission to the House of Lords’ EU Select Committee.
Mr Vasquez said that while Gibraltar should receive the same rights and conditions as are negotiated for the UK, the Rock’s unique circumstances and challenges should also be taken into account.
He also told the committee’s Gibraltar inquiry that while Spain was trying to link Brexit and sovereignty, the British Government “should not fall into the trap of making [sovereignty] the issue”.
“This Spanish attempt to make sovereignty the ‘Gibraltar issue’ within the UK’s withdrawal from the EU must be resisted by the UK,” he wrote. “It will be resisted by Gibraltar.”
Mr Vasquez’ 13-page submission – submitted in his capacity as party chairman – said the GSD and the Gibraltar Government were agreed that the key issues facing Gibraltar were frontier fluidity and the single market for services.
But while there was unity on the challenges ahead, Government and Opposition were not necessarily agreed on how to approach the Brexit process.
He said UK Brexit Minister David Davis had not ruled out special arrangements for Gibraltar, but had made clear Britain would be ‘loathe to go down that route’.
“This position places responsibility on the UK Government to negotiate terms in its overall agreement that will take into account the specifics of Gibraltar, albeit by agreeing nuanced arrangements that take into account Gibraltar’s location, situation and needs,” Mr Vasquez said.
“It should be noted in this context that, on the UK’s accession to the EU, Gibraltar obtained and has always had special arrangements applicable to it alone within the EU…These are derogations from those applicable to the UK.”
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