Gibraltar will only make agreements that will protect its ‘political safety’ at forthcoming EU talks with Spain, said its Chief Minister on Brexit Day.
The speech was delivered by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo before Gibraltar left the European Union tonight.
“We will not accept any attempt to compromise our sovereignty, jurisdiction or control over any part of our territory,” assured Picardo.
“Do not fall into the trap of allowing your views to be fixed by what you might read or hear which is designed to dupe a domestic audience.
“Much will be said to seek to divide us or make you fear the progress or potential outcomes of the negotiations.
“Remember: that is the oldest trick in the book for a negotiating opponent.”
He warned that while the government would try to be ‘as open as possible’ in talks, it would ‘not be able to give a blow by blow account of every meeting or contact’.
Picardo said the government should work towards a free-flowing frontier for those on both sides of the land border.
“We must work to protect the frictionless fluidity of people across our frontier with Europe,” continued the tireless leader.
“We must work to ensure first and foremost that the human and family bonds that lie across that frontier are never at risk of being severed or impeded again.
“People must come before rhetoric, borders or politics.”
He said that Gibraltar had benefited from EU membership so there was ‘genuine sadness’ about leaving.
However, Picardo also pointed out that the EU had failed on many occasion to protect Gibraltar.
He predicted that in forthcoming negotiations the EU values would be put to the test too.
“If the EU take a line in relation to Gibraltar which is not inclusive of us, the EU will have failed to understand why the UK is leaving,” said Picardo.
“If all the talk in relation to Gibraltar is of vetoes, then our European colleagues will not just be failing us, they will be failing themselves.
“That is not the generosity of spirit and approach which this historic moment requires of us all.”
He was referring to the way the EU Commission had granted Spain a double veto over the future trade agreement with Gibraltar.
The Chief Minister said that in the end Gibraltar had decided that the ‘safest course is with Britain that we know, trust and understand’.