Gibraltar government reacts strongly to post-Brexit proposals

Fabian Picardo, chief minister of Gibraltar.
Fabian Picardo, chief minister of Gibraltar. / SUR
  • The government responded to Spain's demand for joint control over the airport and the EU's wish to apply a veto to the transition period

Gibraltar has been in the international news twice this week, firstly because of a statement by the Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis, saying that Spain wants joint control of Gibraltar airport post-Brexit, and again on Wednesday when the EU's draft legal text on the Withdrawal Arrangement proposed that Spain's extra veto under Clause 24 should also be applied to any transition period relating to Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

The Gibraltar government was quick to respond on both occasions. With regard to the claim on the airport, it stressed that sovereignty is and has not been a matter for discussion, and pointed out that “the joint management of the air terminal, on a purely commercial basis, between Gibraltar and Spanish business interests was provided for in the agreement signed at Cordoba in 2006 between the then Governments of Gibraltar, the United Kingdom and Spain. This did not happen because Spain has not yet given effect to this and other relevant parts of the agreement.”

The second statement from the Gibraltar government took a different tone. Angry at the EU's footnote regarding the Clause 24 veto, which says that nothing which affects Gibraltar can be agreed between the EU and the UK post-Brexit without Spain's approval, it said that this “constitutes a disgraceful affront to a small British country that voted by 96% to remain in the European Union”.

Pointing out that the text is only a draft and that it does not represent the view of the United Kingdom, the statement stressed that the Gibraltar government will mobilise all options available if any attempt is made to activate the Clause and exclude Gibraltar, whatever the consequences might be for the wider progress of Brexit.