Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said yesterday that Gibraltar was starting to see the “fruits of engagement” with Spain on the issue of Brexit.
The Chief Minister, speaking on Radio Gibraltar’s Direct Democracy programme, was reflecting on recent comments by Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis, who told Agence France Presse last week that “nothing will change” at the border after Brexit.
Mr Dastis’ comments come just days after Mr Picardo and the President of the Junta de Andalucia, Susana Diaz, met in Seville and vowed to explore cross-border cooperation to mitigate the impact of Brexit.
“I think we are seeing fruits from the change of tone that Sr Dastis has delivered since he became Spanish foreign minister,” Mr Picardo said.
“I think you are seeing fruits of the engagement the Government of Gibraltar has had very broadly with socio-economic actors in the Campo de Gibraltar, Andalusia generally and beyond that in Spain.”
“I think you are seeing the fruits of the President of the Junta of Andalusia, Susana Diaz, becoming directly engaged herself on the issues that Brexit arises for the whole of Andalusia and in particular for Gibraltar.”
Mr Picardo added that Ms Diaz represents the interests of eight million people, one fifth of the voting population of Spain, a percentage of which are cross-frontier workers.
“Some of the things Sr Dastis has said would be very welcome, in particular by workers and non-workers alike, and by businesses that have had this fear there might have been an attempt to use Brexit to take reprisals against Gibraltar in particular in respect of frontier fluidity,” Mr Picardo said.
“That has not happened to date.”
Mr Picardo also welcomed Mr Dastis’ assurance that Spain would not make its aspiration to recover the sovereignty of Gibraltar a condition in Brexit talks.