File photo of Fabian Picardo. / SUR

Gibraltar will remain British, Picardo insists in New Year message

Addressing concerns about the time the EU negotiations are taking, the chief minister was adamant that every aspect has to be right

Debbie Bartlett
DEBBIE BARTLETT

In a New Year message in which he talked of the negative effects of the pandemic, inflation and Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Gibraltar's economy and the positive changes his government has implemented despite these problems, chief minister Fabian Picardo also did his best to reassure the population that the government will do nothing that goes against their interests in the negotiations for Gibraltar's future relationship with the EU.

It is two years since an agreement in principle was announced between Gibraltar, UK and Spain, and in the absence of any detail - or any leaks - about what is being discussed with the EU there is some concern on the Rock about what concessions might be given.

Picardo was once again adamant: "We are never going to surrender even one iota of British sovereignty in exchange for rights of access to the EU for persons, goods, flights or otherwise. No spin. No nuance or margin for doubt. We are clear and unequivocal when it comes to sovereignty, jurisdiction and control as with everything else," he insisted.

But, he said, the final treaty could run to 100s of pages and the government has to get every aspect right to ensure no negative consequences for the economy or autonomy. But, he stressed, Gibraltar is now irreversibly British and "the work we are doing for a treaty will not change that".