Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia has said that a “sensible, orderly and well-managed” Brexit focused on protecting the rights of citizens is in the interests of both Gibraltar and Spain.
Dr Garcia was speaking as a panelist together with delegates from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during a meeting at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton this weekend.
Dr Garcia said declared the impact of Brexit on Gibraltar, the Overseas Territories
and the Crown Dependencies was not properly considered in the debate at the time of the 2016
This has meant that the different interests of a disparate number of British territories
must now be taken on board as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
The Deputy Chief Minister explained that, unlike the Devolved Administrations, Gibraltar was
British but was not part of the United Kingdom. Gibraltar had therefore enjoyed a differentiated relationship with the European Union since 1973.
“It made sense for Gibraltar to pursue a tailor-made solution as we prepare to leave the European Union because that is the relationship we enjoy at present,” Dr Garcia told the meeting.
The Deputy Chief Minister explained that the UK would be ultimately responsible for three
different land borders with the EU.
These were the Northern Ireland border with the Irish Republic, the border between the sovereign bases and Cyprus and the border between Gibraltar and Spain.
He explained the importance of frontier fluidity for all sides post-Brexit.
Dr Garcia also made the point that the United Kingdom and Gibraltar had engaged with EU Member States as part of the withdrawal process.
This included discussions with Spain, as Gibraltar’s nearest EU neighbour, over a series of different issues.
These EU-exit negotiations were progressing well but had not yet concluded, he said.
The room was packed to capacity with an audience that included politicians and diplomats who
were keen to achieve a better understanding of the impact of Brexit on the Devolved
Administrations and on Gibraltar.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake MP, ended with a lively question and answer session.