Additional reporting by Diexter Thomas
GIBRALTAR residents have been told not to worry about losing their EU rights this year.
Although the overseas territory will be leaving the EU on January 31, they will not feel the difference until the future relationship is worked out in UK-EU negotiations.
“There will be no change to the way in which citizens and businesses interact with the European Union until the Implementation Period comes to an end on December 31 2020,” said the Gibraltar Government earlier today.
“The Implementation Period, which is part of the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU, is expected to commence from February 1 and end on December 31, 2020.
“Gibraltarian ID cards, passports, EU health cards and driving licenses will continue to be used like normal, and EU laws will continue to apply.”
Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia (pictured) is leading the charge for Gibraltar as part of his Departure from the EU portfolio.
At the end of this month, however, all MEPs will be asked to stand down as the UK will no longer have inside influence on the EU.
This period will act as a bridge to allow Gibraltar and the UK to form a new relationship with the EU.
It will also give citizens and businesses time to be prepared for differences in the relationship.
The Government of Gibraltar has already published a bill for the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement in Gibraltar which will be discussed in the local parliament next week.
The Withdrawal Agreement allows for the Implementation Period to be extended for one to two years, but only if a decision on this is made before July 1, 2020.
At the moment, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that his Government will not seek an extension.