THE Rock’s Chief Minister said he was ‘very pleased’ at Gibraltar’s inclusion in the UK negotiation mandate on the future EU relationship

After the EU had excluded Gibraltar from its own negotiating guidelines, this news was a big boost to Gibraltar concerns.

The UK mandate states that the negotiations will be carried out “on behalf of all the territories for whose international relations the UK is responsible’.

It even went further, arguably reinforcing each territory’s current status and economic future.

“The UK Government will seek outcomes which support the territories’ security and economic interests and which reflect their unique characteristics,” said paragraph 11 of the mandate.

“I am very pleased to see confirmation today that the UK Negotiating Mandate includes Gibraltar, exactly as we had agreed with the United Kingdom,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

“It is just as the UK’s Permanent Representative in Brussels set out in November 2018 when the EU first suggested it would seek to exclude us from any future agreement.”

He is now ‘looking forward’ to the start of negotiations ‘to improve our relationships with the EU’ despite leaving it.

Picardo noted he wants to improve ties with Spain ‘for the benefit of the people who live and work on both sides of the frontier.’

The regional talks begun in earnest this week when delegations from Gibraltar, UK and Spain met up to thrash out a deal in Algeciras.

Committees on citizen’s rights, the environment and police and customs cooperation all met on February 26 and 27.

The Gibraltar Government reported these meetings ‘were carried out in a spirit of good will and cooperation’.

They put into action the MoUs on both sides of the border with ‘positive progress’ reported in the area of fighting crime.

All sides want to respect the rights of workers from Spain in Gibraltar and vice-versa, which will come into force on December 31.

Attorney-general Michael Llamas led the Gibraltar delegation which included a UK representative.

They met figures from the Spanish central and regional governments as well as the mayor’s association of the area.

Subjects on the table could be fishing and frontier fluidity to help everyone in the equation.

The talks are different from those held by the UK over the future relationship with the EU, with the next round taking place in Gibraltar.

“The Gibraltar team has reported to me that they found their counterparts respectful, positive and engaging,” added the Chief Minister.

“We look forward to continuing in this spirit to improving cooperation and the building of trust.”

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