The negotiations went so close to the wire that the wire was almost cutting into the throats of those negotiating, said Gibraltar’s chief minister Fabian Picardo this afternoon, announcing that an agreement has been reached in principle over Gibraltar’s future relationship with the European Union.
Specific details have still to be ironed out, but the parties involved indicated that this could be done within six months. Gibraltar would have access to Schengen, and the EU border force Frontex would control entry and exit to the Schengen area and to Gibraltar. This has been agreed initially for four years. Everything laid out in the agreement will be enshrined in a treaty between UK and EU regarding areas of EU competence.
Picardo said this historic agreement is a chance to “reset the relationship between Gibraltar and Spain, and in a positive way” but stressed that none of Gibraltar’s red lines – no sovereignty, jurisdiction or control by Spain – have been crossed. Gibraltar remains fully British and will not be part of the EU, but the agreement will allow unhampered access to people and goods across the border.
The chief minister and Spain’s foreign minister thanked the negotiating teams of both countries, and Fabian Picardo had specific words of thanks for British prime minister Boris Johnson, who he stressed had not forgotten Gibraltar, and Dominic Raab who was always accessible when needed and left no stone unturned in bringing this agreement to fruition.
He said it had been a difficult process, but the agreement has “turned the tide of history” and will create shared prosperity in Gibraltar and the nearest area of Spain. “We could not allow a backward step to people’s mobility and be cut off from the European continent,” he said about Brexit.
Picardo said stressed this is an agreement in principle and there are still differences of opinion on different aspects, but there is now space in which to resolve them.
He will be making a fuller statement in the near future.