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"Gibraltar's situation is unique," chief minister tells Brussels

Fabian Picardo and Dr Joseph García with new UK ambassador Sir Tim Barrow in Brussels. :
Fabian Picardo and Dr Joseph García with new UK ambassador Sir Tim Barrow in Brussels. : / SUR
  • In an address to the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee, Picardo said Gibraltar has always had a different EU status

Chief minister Fabian Picardo was in Brussels on Monday last week to address the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee on the constitutional relationship of the United Kingdom and the European Union, and the consequences of the results of the EU referendum.

With regard to the impact of Brexit on Gibraltar and the surrounding area of Spain, Picardo said this would be difficult to assess until it is known what the new relationship between the UK and EU would be, but he highlighted the fact that, notwithstanding political difficulties with Spain, the relationship between Gibraltar and its surrounding region "is a European success story to be proud of".

The chief minister described the relationship as a textbook example of two parts of the EU coming together to create economic growth, friendship and mutual prosperity, and said, "Nothing symbolises this success more clearly for both sides than a free-flowing border."

He added that thousands of Spanish nationals cross the border to work in Gibraltar on a daily basis, and that "a frontier which lacks the necessary fluidity for people to be able to access their places of work would therefore put directly at risk the jobs of 10,000 European citizens who live in one member state and work in Gibraltar."

After giving statistics to demonstrate the importance of Gibraltar to the economy of the Campo de Gibraltar region, Picardo insisted that a "sensible" Brexit is needed, one which provides for Gibraltar to continue to be an engine of economic growth because that is in everybody's interests. He said Gibraltar would like a special relationship with the EU after Brexit to keep the border free-flowing, and for access to the single market for services.

"Gibraltar's situation is unique," he stressed, "Its has always had a different status in the EU to the UK."