The four agreements stemming from the Gibraltar Protocol in the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and European Union were signed on Thursday and will be published on Friday morning at 10am.
The four Memorandums of Understanding are the product of months of intense negotiation between the governments of Gibraltar, the UK and Spain.
The agreements provide a time-limited framework for cooperation with Spain on issues including citizens’ rights, tobacco, the environment and police and customs matters.
The three governments have also agreed a separate deal relating to tax matters but this is still undergoing final legal checks and has yet to be finalised and signed.
The MoUs and the tax deal will only come into effect if the Withdrawal Agreement is approved in December by the House of Commons, where Prime Minister Theresa May faces stiff resistance from both her own Conservative Party and the opposition benches.
Although the MoUs were negotiated by the Gibraltar Government and relate to areas which, under the 2006 Constitution, are the competence of the authorities here, Gibraltar itself cannot sign international agreements.
Yesterday, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May telling her that his government had approved the application to Gibraltar of the protocol within the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Chief Minister also informed Mrs May that the Gibraltar Government had agreed that the four MoUs referred to in the Protocol be signed by the UK.
As a result, the MoUs were subsequently signed by the UK’s de factor deputy Prime Minister, David Lidington, and Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell.
“I have told the Prime Minister that in providing our approval to the Gibraltar Protocol and for the execution of these Memoranda, Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar attaches fundamental importance to the fact that I have led in all relevant negotiations for Gibraltar and to the agreement between our respective governments which underlines that the Protocol and accompanying arrangements will be implemented in full respect of the Gibraltar Constitution 2006 and the competence of Gibraltar Government Ministers and other relevant Gibraltar authorities provided for in the Constitution,” Mr Picardo said.
The four agreements will be available for downloading from the Gibraltar Government website on http://gibraltar.gov.gi/
Main photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca