The Gibraltar government is cautiously optimistic that an agreement can be reached regarding its future relationship with the EU following the end of the Brexit transition period, but chief minister Fabian Picardo says he would be prepared to continue discussions after 31 December even if no agreement has been reached. Speaking to the House of Lords European Union Committee during a virtual appearance this week, Picardo explained that in the past five months there have been detailed ongoing talks between Gibraltar, the UK, Spain and Brussels and that things are moving in the right direction, but he stressed that "time is short". He is, he said, optimistic enough to think "we will make it", but stressed that even so this does not mean that an agreement is certain.
In answer to questions about Gibraltar joining Schengen and the Customs Union, he said that full membership would be a bureaucratic and unnecessary nightmare for such a small territory, but other arrangements might be possible. He also stressed that even if there is no deal by the end of this year, neither Gibraltar or Spain would want to damage each other and that the people of Gibraltar would not expect him to give up on negotiations one minute after midnight on 1 January because the deadline had passed. "We want as much cooperation as possible without crossing red lines," he said.