Brexit is ‘no excuse’ to halt cross-border relations, said Izquierda Unida Regional Coordinator Antonio Maíllo during a ‘warm and positive’ meeting with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo at No 6 Convent Place yesterday.
Co-operation was firmly on the table, with the Government and left-wing Spanish party Izquierda Unida discussing issues pertaining to the border and the free-flow of movement, at the hour-long meeting.
Mr Picardo noted the long-standing relationship he holds with Mr Maíllo, and how the pair also met recently following co-operative talks at the Junta of Andalucia, in Seville.
Izquierda Unida requested the meeting late last month and the delegation, led by Mr Maíllo, also met with the Cross Frontier Group during their visit.
Deputy Chief Minister, Joseph Garcia, and Attorney General Michael Llamas were also present at the meeting with Mr Maíllo who was flanked by Member of the Andalusian Parliament, Inmaculada Nieto, and MEP Marina Albiol.
“We were talking about what matters to people in the Cross Frontier Group and to people in the region and how important it is that Gibraltar is part of any agreements between the UK and the EU,” Mr Picardo told reporters.
“In particular for workers who rely on those agreements in respect of social security issues, but not exclusively in relation to workers.”
Mr Picardo added the recent queues at the frontier need to come to an end and it has to be ensured that this does not form part of Gibraltar’s future.
“I can only describe our meeting as having been warm and positive,” Mr Picardo said.
“He and I knew each other from a time when relations between Gibraltar and Spain were perhaps not as positive as they can be described as being today, in the context of a tone at least of statements by Spanish foreign ministers.”
Izquierda Unida has expressed its concerns over the repercussions of Brexit in the Campo de Gibraltar and the uncertainty this has brought to cross-frontier workers during the meeting.
Mr Maíllo stressed how Brexit should not be used to halt cross-frontier relations, and co-operation must continue.
“Brexit should not be an excuse to paralyse a process that should not be paralysed,” Mr Maíllo said.
“There is no reason, legal or any other kind, for the EU association for co-operation between territories to be paralysed until the end of Brexit negotiations.”
He delivered a strong message that the party is for co-operation and will look for solutions that are favourable to cross-frontier workers.
“We have to have put in our efforts for co-operation in order to provide certainty, security, and to maintain an economic relationship,” Mr Maíllo said.
“Izquierda has found a collaborator and ally to establish everything needed to return relations back to normality. Our political objective is to ensure that co-operation would no longer be news.”
He remarked that this is not the first effort towards increased co-operation, noting how last month Mr Picardo met with President of the Junta of Andalucia, Susana Diaz.
“The best thing that could happen is that these talks become part of the public agenda, and any negativity regarding this debate is found to be unfavourable,” Mr Maíllo said.
“It is important for the community to feel beneficial and participate in these talks on relations, and the good relations we now have.”
Mr Maíllo hopes that this approach of also taken on by the Spanish Government.