Britain’s former attorney general, Dominic Grieve, made a short visit to Gibraltar last week, following previous contact with the attorney general of the Rock, Michael Llamas. After a meeting with the chief minister, Fabian Picardo, Grieve was updated on Brexit issues by deputy chief minister Dr Joseph García, who holds the Brexit portfolio in Gibraltar. Garcia also showed him round the airport and took him to the border, so he could gain a closer understanding of issues affecting Gibraltar.
Brexit challenges are taking up a great deal of political time in Gibraltar, as the chief minister recently pointed out in an interview with Sky News, and Garcia flew to London again this week, partly for a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on Brexit and also for discussions with ministers. He met with Lord Callanan, who is now responsible for aviation matters at the Department of Transport, to explain the historical background to the problems created for Gibraltar in the field of civil aviation in the European Union, and discussed border issues with the new minister of state for Immigration, Brandon Lewis. Garcia explained the importance of a frictionless frontier to Gibraltar post-Brexit and highlighted that this was significant in respect of residents on both sides of the border, frontier workers and tourists. He outlined a number of potential solutions which the Gibraltar government had looked at in this respect.
The deputy chief minister then briefed the UK’s shadow minister for Europe, Khalid Mahmood, on the challenges that Gibraltar faces as it prepares to leave the European Union together with the United Kingdom. He again went over the border issues and outlined the importance of access to the UK market, among other matters.