There is cautious optimism that agreement could be close regarding Gibraltar's future relationship with the European Union, after Chief Minister Fabian Picardo updated the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gibraltar in London this week about progress in the negotiations.
The chief minister and the Gibraltar Regiment jointly hosted the APPG at a lunch at St James' Palace on Tuesday, which was also attended by the Governor of Gibraltar, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel.
During the lunch, Picardo thanked the Group for their continued support for Gibraltar in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords before going through some of the latest developments on matters related to Covid-19 and the arrival of refugees from Ukraine to the Rock.
He then said he was feeling "strong optimism" that there might be agreement for a UK/EU Treaty in relation to Gibraltar before the Easter break, or shortly thereafter, despite the setbacks to the timetable of negotiations caused by the current security situation in eastern Europe.
Although the agreement would be about Gibraltar's relationship with the EU, not the UK's, it would take the form of a Treaty between the UK and the EU because the United Kingdom government is responsible for Gibraltar's foreign affairs. Nevertheless, the New Year's Agreement which forms the framework for these negotiations was drawn up by the Gibraltar government, and it has been fully involved in the negotiations from the start.