Gibraltar, keen for the negotiations to be completed. / SUR

Spain agrees to extend health care and driving licence measures for Gibraltar

These temporary arrangements which came into force when the Brexit transition period ended have been prolonged until 31 December this year

DEBBIE BARTLETT GIBRALTAR.

On Tuesday, Spain's Council of Ministers agreed to extend certain temporary arrangements and measures regarding Gibraltar until 31 December, while negotiations regarding Gibraltar's future relationship with the EU are taking place.

The Gibraltar government has now issued a Technical Notice about two of these measures, namely health care and driving licences.

It confirms that people with a right to access public health care in Gibraltar will continue to be able to access public health care in Spain, up to 31 December 2021, on terms equivalent to those which existed under EU law prior to 31 December 2020, which is when the Brexit Transition Period came to an end.

This arrangement means that those who are entitled to health care from the Gibraltar Health Authority will still be able to continue to access medically necessary, state-provided healthcare in Spain if they are there temporarily.

It also allows those who are resident in Spain but covered by Gibraltar social security legislation (including cross-frontier workers) to continue to access public health care in Spain.

The Gibraltar government will provide reciprocal treatment, in Gibraltar, for visitors to Gibraltar or persons resident in Gibraltar, under the same terms.

The other measure applies to people who are resident in Spain but who hold Gibraltar driving licences. The period during which their licences are recognised in Spain is now extended until 31 December. The government stresses that this only applies to those who are legally resident in Spain.

At present, Gibraltar driving licence holders who are not legally resident in Spain do not require an International Driving Permit when driving in Spain.

The Gibraltar government says it will continue to reciprocate, in Gibraltar, for visitors to Gibraltar or persons resident in Gibraltar, under the same terms.

The EU, Gibraltar and UK are hopeful that the negotiations regarding Gibraltar's future relationship will be completed by the end of this year, although it has been made clear that they will continue next year if necessary. The first talks took place in Brussels a few weeks ago and were said to have been constructive and cordial, but there has been no further information since then.