Gibraltar border could be unaffected by Brexit, says deputy chief minister

Dr Joseph Garcia at the UCA summer course.
Dr Joseph Garcia at the UCA summer course. / SUR
  • Speaking at a summer course organised by the University of Cadiz, Garcia said there are ways to guarantee fluidity for goods and people

The border between Gibraltar and Spain is already an external border and with the right political will it is possible that Brexit will make no difference to it, deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia said a few days ago, addressing a University of Cadiz summer course on Brexit.

He pointed out that as Gibraltar is in neither the Customs Union nor the Schengen Agreement, the border with Spain is already subject to controls on both goods and people, unlike other EU borders. This means that even in the event of a so-called 'hard Brexit', which would mean that Britain would leave the European Union with no deal having been signed for the future, the EU rules which would apply at the Spain/Gibraltar border are the same ones that are currently in place today.

About 14,000 people cross the border into Gibraltar to work each day, and approximately 8,000 of them are Spanish. Thousands of tourists also walk or drive into Gibraltar each year.

When the EU referendum was announced, the then Spanish foreign minister José Manuel García Margallo made noises about closing the border, but as Dr Garcia explained, the Spanish rhetoric regarding the border has changed in recent months, and the present prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, said recently that fluidity at the border is "essential".

"The political will seems to be there," said the deputy chief minister. "There are legal solutions which exist which could secure the smooth passage of persons and goods across the border even in a post-Brexit world."