Gibraltar and the neighbouring Campo de Gibraltar enjoy a mutually-beneficial relationship that could be developed further despite the challenge of Brexit, Attorney General Michael Llamas said yesterday.
Speaking at the San Roque seminar organised by the University of Cadiz, Mr Llamas said Gibraltar and the Campo had worked together within a European framework to build commercial and social ties to the point that “we depend on each other”.
Gibraltar’s strong economy generated prosperity and jobs for the Campo, which in turn provided the people and space vital to the Rock’s economy.
“The big tragedy of Brexit in this region is that despite the political differences that we have, we are a textbook example of the European project,” Mr Llamas said.
“But we can do more, and that is the big challenge that we have.”
“That’s the big paradox: we want to turn Brexit into an opportunity.”
Mr Llamas explained the steps taken by the Gibraltar Government in the Brexit process, including securing continued access to the UK market which was “the engine of our economy” and provided the bulk of customers in the gaming and financial services industry.
In parallel, he said, discussions were also ongoing about Gibraltar’s post-Brexit relationship with Spain and the EU.
Mr Llamas said some of the issues that were being discussed were “easy to agree on”.
By way of example, he said Gibraltar was ready to work with Spain to ensure “total transparency” on fiscal matters and to strengthen law enforcement cooperation.
He was also confident that an agreement would be reached to guarantee continued fluidity at the border.
Mr Llamas acknowledged that other issues such as the environment and the possible joint use of the airport touched on sovereignty and were harder to resolve.
But even though there were disagreements, “we are talking in good faith”, he said, adding that the Gibraltar Government had been “a bit surprised” by recent media reports suggesting the discussions had stalled.
“From our perspective, we can’t be working harder,” he said.