In the future, Gibraltar may possibly want a deeper relationship with the European Union, deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia told the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week. He was speaking in response to questions from the Green/EFA MEP working group, who had invited him to meet them.
Dr Garcia explained that Gibraltar has enjoyed a differentiated, tailor-made relationship with the EU ever since it joined its predecessor, the European Economic Community, in 1973. This status was unique and did not apply to any other Overseas Territory, Devolved Administrations or the Crown Dependencies.
He said that as the Brexit negotiations are ongoing it is still too early to tell what the future might look like, but that as 96% of Gibraltar had voted to remain in the EU it is likely that people would want a closer relationship going forward.
The MEPs showed considerable interest in the details of the Gibraltar Protocol which will be attached to the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU, and in the five areas of arrangements for practical cooperation being discussed with Spain. Dr Garcia explained that the positions were now very close and he welcomed indications that Gibraltar will be included in the transitional arrangements which are expected to run until the end of 2020.
If there is no UK-EU agreement there would be no Gibraltar Protocol either, he said, but there would be scope for practical cooperation with Spain nonetheless.
The UK-EU Protocols will cover the three Territories which have a land border with the EU. These are the bases in Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.