If there is an agreement, it could put an end to queues at the border. / sur

Gibraltar's chief minister says he is "strongly optimistic" that EU agreement will be reached soon

Although Fabian Picardo stressed that negotiations are still continuing and agreement is not guaranteed, it is significant that he chose to make this statement at this time

DEBBIE BARTLETT Gibraltar

Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo has said today, Wednesday 13 April, that he is "strongly optimistic" that negotiators from Gibraltar, UK and EU have found a route to a treaty for Gibraltar's future relationship with the European Union.

Although he pointed out that an agreement has not yet been reached, it is significant that he chose to make this announcement at this time as the aim has been to try to finalise the matter by Easter or soon afterwards.

A press release from the government said that:

"Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar can confirm that, although no agreement has yet been reached, negotiations for a UK/EU Treaty are continuing positively and with all parties strongly optimistic that agreement can be reached in a manner that will be acceptable and favourable to all. Delays in the negotiations have inevitably arisen from the travel restrictions imposed in the last months of last year as a result of the Covid Omicron variant and now the fact that the unprovoked Russian invasions of Ukraine has taken considerable ministerial and official bandwidth in London, Madrid and Brussels. All the parties continue to be committed and working in good faith towards achieving an early resolution of all issues, which is eagerly anticipated by citizens in Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar, as well as more widely," it said.

Extend thanks to officials

Picardo also said he wanted to extend thanks from the Gibraltar government and people to all the officials in the respective negotiating teams for their efforts to date, despite the many logistical challenges that have arisen.

"At a time when travel was uncomfortable and now when there are many other demands on their time, this issue continues to be given priority and we continue advancing positively and proactively seeking solutions to complex issues. I am strongly optimistic that we have found a route to a treaty to be concluded as soon as agreement is possible," he said.