Gibraltar is bracing itself for a no deal Brexit at the end of the year with Spain expected to make inroads into its sovereignty.
That is why Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia spoke how the territory ‘must be ready to walk away from the negotiations’ in his New Year’s Message.
The approach comes after Spain threatened to ask for joint sovereignty on Gibraltar ever since the UK voted for Brexit at the 2016 Referendum.
This possibility could become a reality when the UK leaves the EU with Gibraltar on January 31.
“The clock is ticking for the UK and EU to conclude a future trade agreement before the end of the year,” said Garcia.
“We will need to examine very carefully the contents of any future UK/EU agreements in order to determine their relevance.
“There is always the possibility that we could be asked to pay an unacceptable political price in order to enjoy any benefits.”
Garcia spoke on how Gibraltar ‘must rise to the challenge’ of Brexit even though it voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.
“In a no deal context, it is true to say that we have dealt with whatever issues were in our control – it is quite simply impossible to have done more.
“We need to be conscious of political mischief-making on the part of others outside Gibraltar during that sensitive period.”
The Brexit planning for no-deal when this was a possible option could then be activated if Spain was demanding too much from Gibraltar.
This would probably create huge delays at the land frontier which could hurt the local economy but is preferential to political concessions.
In order to allay this economic fallout Garcia said the government was looking to ‘new markets and opportunities’ with countries like Morocco, Israel and the USA.
“Our long and turbulent history over centuries of battles, sieges, bombardments, political pressure, restrictions and blockades have made us resilient and determined,” he concluded.
“This background will always stand us in good stead.
“You can rest assured that with skill, determination and perseverance, Gibraltar will emerge successful from this latest phase in our historical and political evolution.”