The Cross Frontier Group was yesterday offered premises in Gibraltar during a meeting with the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
Lorenzo Pérez Periáñez, who heads Apymell, the small business association in La Linea, was recently elected as the group’s new President and this was his first official meeting with the Chief Minister.
He attended the meeting held at Number Six together with the group’s vice-president, Victor Gonzalez from NASUWT Gibraltar, and secretary Angel Serrano from UGT Campo de Gibraltar.
Mr Pérez Periáñez welcomed the news about a new location in Gibraltar and said the La Línea mayor Juan Franco had also made a similar offer across the border.
“This offer made us very happy because we would like to have a location in Gibraltar,” he said.
“I think this will be of benefit to the Cross Frontier Group because it will mean our members will get to know the Rock and the local community will find out about our function.”
“We do not want them to get confused and to think we are a political group because our main function is to represent the interests of residents.”
“This is of special importance after Gibraltar has had to deal with a closed border for a number of years and issues with politicians such as José Manuel García-Margallo.”
“We can understand why they do not trust in people like us but I think this is one way in which people in Gibraltar will be able to learn our function and what we do.”
“Our main role is to protect the human and economic interests of the people in Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar and I think it is a big responsibility we have.”
The discussion focused on the new premises and Brexit but they also talked about the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation.
This is a European legal instrument designed to facilitate and promote cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation.
Mr Picardo said he hopes to see this come to reality despite Brexit.
After the meeting, the Chief Minister said it was a pleasure to meet the new president of the Cross Frontier Group adding that the Government has always been supportive of them.
“We have wanted to find them a home in Gibraltar and we think we have been able to find them some premises where they may be able to have a home in Gibraltar,” Mr Picardo added.
“We think this is an important way of continuing to ensure that the group continues in existence.”
“This is a group born at the very difficult time of Margallo and his restrictions against Gibraltar.”
“We thought that was a difficult time and we thought we would have better times and unfortunately Margallo left and Brexit appeared over the horizon.”
“So I think there is a continued importance in making the argument about the human and commercial links across the frontier and that is what this group is about and that is why they enjoy the support from this Government.”
Pic by Johnny Bugeja