DESPITE 96% of the Rock’s population voting to remain in the EU, Brexit will go ahead at midnight.

The occasion will be marked by a ‘solemn ceremony’ according to the government, where the EU flag will be lowered for the last time.

It will be attended by ministers, the governor and speaker of the Gibraltar House of Parliament who will all sing ‘Ode to Joy’, the EU anthem.

Despite the departure, the Chief Minister said he still wanted to keep in touch with the EU.

“We want to continue to interact with citizens and businesses in theEU and all parties need to ensure that those bonds are not disrupted by our departure,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

“The present prosperity that Gibraltar already generates for many thousands of businesses and persons must continue to thrive and to grow in the future.

“Gibraltar can look forward to that future with confidence.”

For his part, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, who has responsibility for Europe was adamant Gibraltar ‘would make a success of the departure’.

“This is the end of an era,” said Garcia, a keen Europhile most of his political life.

“There are many whose memory only stretches back to the time when UK and Gibraltar were both in the EU.

“However, we are determined to make a success of our departure and to overcome any challenge that may come our way as we have done throughout our long and turbulent history.”

New alliances

After the EU flag is taken down it will be replaced by that of the Commonwealth alongside the Gibraltar and British flags at the only British border on the EU mainland.

‘God save the Queen’ will then be sung before the ceremony comes to an end.

Garcia added: “It is right and proper that we should intensify our relationship with the Commonwealth and the raising of this flag at all Government sites and offices will send a powerful message.”

Commonwealth Flag
REPLACEMENT: Commonwealth flag will stand in for the EU

Despite the disappointment of the Chief Minister, who over the last year wanted to revoke Article 50, he expressed optimism for the year ahead.

“The inclusion of Gibraltar in the Withdrawal Agreement, including in the transition period, means that at this time very little will actually change for the ordinary citizen, including fluidity across the border,” added Picardo.

All the music will be provided by the Gibraltar Band and Drums Association, with member of the public urged not to go to the frontier because of a lack of space.

The atmosphere was echoed in the UK with rival groups of pro and anti-EU protestors marking the occasion.

A campaign was launched to make the take ‘Ode to Joy’ to number one of the singles chart as a sign of solidarity with the EU.

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