It would have been “physically impossible” for the Gibraltar Government to have done more to defend the Rock’s interests so far in the Brexit process, Dr Joseph Garcia, the deputy Chief Minister, said last night in a party political broadcast on behalf of the Liberal Party.
Dr Garcia sketched out the government’s “prudent and responsible” response to Brexit, including its relentless lobbying work since the UK voted to leave the European Union.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, he said, had shown “the strength and the determination to defend Gibraltar’s corner”, working closely with both Dr Garcia and Attorney General Michael Llamas, as well as Gibraltar’s “small but dedicated” teams in London and Brussels.
Since June 2016, the government’s Brexit team has met the European Commission; members of the European Parliament; key members of many national parliaments and governments of different member states; the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and the Crown Dependencies and other UK Overseas Territories.
There has also been consistent and close cooperation with the UK Government itself, and Gibraltar has been present at every party conference of every mainstream political party in the UK.
Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National Party and DUP Members of Parliament and activists have all heard Gibraltar’s message, Dr Garcia said.
“We promised you that we would leave no stone unturned,” he added.
“We promised that we would explore every avenue and every opening.”
“And that is exactly what we have done.”
Dr Garcia said Gibraltar had not voted to leave the EU but, despite being “enthusiastic Europeans”, must now carve a future for itself outside the bloc alongside the UK.
He highlighted ongoing work being down by working groups bringing together experts from the UK and Gibraltar governments in areas such as trade, transport, the environment, financial services, online gaming and the border.
And he said Gibraltar remained open to exploring ways of mitigating the impact of Brexit and seeking opportunities wherever possible.
“Indeed, the future movement of persons between Gibraltar and Spain will continue to receive our close attention,” he said.
“The Government has already made it clear that we stand ready to engage in productive technical talks with all relevant parties, in a spirit of cooperation, in order to ensure that residents, tourists and workers can continue to go about their business.”
“The truth is that a sensible, an orderly and a well-managed Brexit is not only in the best interests of Gibraltar – it is also in the best interests of Spain itself.”