"A sad day for Gibraltar," says chief minister as Article 50 is triggered

Picardo with Robin Walker MP on his recent visit to Gibraltar.
Picardo with Robin Walker MP on his recent visit to Gibraltar. / SUR
  • In his speech to the Gibraltar parliament, Fabian Picardo also expressed optimism about the future and the border with Spain

On Wednesday afternoon, chief minister Fabian Picardo was at pains to reassure the people of Gibraltar that Brexit is not the end of the world for the Rock and that things may, in fact, even get better once Britain definitively leaves the EU in two years' time.

"Today is undoubtedly a sad day for Gibraltar," he told Parliament. "It is not the result we wanted from the referendum. Today is a day when we must be ready to work to turn sadness into optimism and hope."

"It is a day when we embark on a process we did not choose but are determined to make a success of.

"As the United Kingdom looks to establish itself as a truly global Britain that reaches beyond Europe, so do we, the British people of Gibraltar, look to establish ourselves also as a nation with commercial relationships well beyond Europe and in partnership with Britain.

"We are a resilient and entrepreneurial people. We will rise to the challenge. We will deliver a prosperous, outward looking, global British Gibraltar living in peace with its neighbours. And we will thrive as a people as we adapt to the new realities of post-Brexit trade and adopt its myriad opportunities," he concluded.

British support for Gibraltar post-Brexit was also expressed by the Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Robin Walker MP, who told Picardo that Gibraltar's priorities are fully understood and will be taken into account during negotiations with the EU, and that Gibraltar will be fully involved.

With regard to fears about the effect of Brexit on the border with Spain, the chief minister pointed out that the Spanish government has recently indicated that it is keen to ensure that Spanish workers and companies in Gibraltar are not prejudiced by Brexit, and Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis has said there are no plans to close the border.