The border control in Gibraltar. / EFE

Talks on Gibraltar’s future relationship with EU to continue next year

The negotiations are said to have been progressing well so far, and the aim now is for an agreement to be concluded by Easter

Debbie Bartlett

The fourth round of negotiations over Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU ended in London yesterday and the talks will continue next year. The objective now is to conclude an agreement before Easter 2022. The Gibraltar government has issued a statement confirming that there has been progress in each of the four round of talks so far, and says it is clear that all parties are determined to move forward in a positive and constructive manner to find solutions to the complex political and technical issues under discussion.

The negotiations centre on ensuring fluid movement of people and goods between Gibraltar and the EU, while also creating an area of greater shared prosperity between Gibraltar and the nearest area of Spain, the Campo de Gibraltar.

The political framework for the negotiations was agreed between Gibraltar, UK and Spain on New Year’s Eve last year and it included the ambitious proposal for Gibraltar to have tailor-made access to the Schengen area, with the external Schengen border moving to Gibraltar airport and port and officers from the EU’s Frontex force responsible for its control. The discussions, however, did not begin until October this year because it took time for the EU to agree and formalise its mandate for the negotiations.

If agreement can be reached, it will take the form of a Treaty between the UK, which is responsible for Gibraltar’s external relations and therefore negotiates on behalf of the Gibraltar government and in accordance with its wishes, and the EU. Gibraltar is, however, fully involved in the process.