TALKS between Gibraltar, the UK and Spain are gathering pace as the countries enter the transitional period following Friday’s EU exit.
The 11th joint ministerial council meeting between the UK and Gibraltar took place in London yesterday in what was the last meeting before leaving the European Union.
The UK and Gibraltar will be leaving the European Union at midnight on Friday, which will be followed by a transitional implementation period that will last until December 31.
This is unless Boris Johnson seeks an extension of the implementation period before July 31 from 1 to 2 years.
During this transition period, EU rights will continue to apply to all residents of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom.
The purpose for this meeting was to discuss the exit from the European Union, the negotiations on the future relationship with the EU and to discuss contingency planning issues.
“The Joint Ministerial Council has worked very well, Picardo told GBC recently.
“This is our 11th meeting of the JMC since the vote to leave the European Union.
“What we do in the JMC is that we ensure we bring up to a ministerial level all of the work that has been ongoing between officials in London and in Gibraltar and all the key issues that we need to progress on.”
Leading Gibraltar’s side of the meeting was Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo alongside Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia, Attorney General Michael Llamas and Financial Secretary Albert Mena.
The United Kingdom was represented by Minister of Europe Chris Pincher MP, Minister for the Department of International Trade Connor Burns MP and representatives from other Government Departments.
Talking with Spain
The Gibraltar Government, led by Attorney General Michael Llamas, also attended a meeting with the UK and Spain’s Governments in Madrid to discuss the Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) between the United Kingdom and Spain last Thursday.
The Memorandum of Understandings between the UK and Spain first signed in 2018 make sure that there is a smooth transitional period while a new agreement between Gibraltar and the EU is agreed.
Citizen’s rights, cooperation on environmental matters, police, Customs and tobacco matters are covered in the agreements.
The MoUs will apply from the beginning of the Implementation Period on February 1 up until the end on December 31 2020.
Cross Frontier workers and Gibraltarian Citizens will continue to see free movement during this time.
The first meeting between the committees set up to discuss the MoUs is set to take place in Algeciras on February 26.
The Spanish side will have representatives from the Madrid government, The Junta de Andalucia and Campo de Gibraltar mayors.
Gibraltar and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office are also likely to participate in the conference on the other side of the table.
Before that date, Spain’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed she will be meeting The various Campo mayors ‘as soon as possible’.
It was requested by Mayor of Algeciras, Jose Ignacio Landaluce, traditionally an arch-enemy of Gibraltar.
On January 13, PSOE’s Gonzalez Laya was sworn in as the Minister of Foreign Affairs under Pedro Sanchez’s government, succeeding Margarita Robles as acting Foreign Minister.
Before taking up her ministerial position, Gonzalez Laya was a former assistant secretary general to the United Nations and Executive Director of the International Trade Centre.
The PSOE has always had the most favourable view on Gibraltar compared to all the other Spanish parties, having recently stated they wanted to make an agreement which benefited the economy of the area.
Analysts believe Laya could bode well for Gibraltar-Spain relations as she is keen on free trade and international cooperation.