GIBRALTAR could have a ‘common travel area with Schengen’ and be part of the Customs Union if a deal is reached between the UK and the EU before December 31.

The proposed ‘free-standing EU-UK treaty’, as the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo called it, was explained in full to the House of Lords European Union Committee on November 24.

Such an agreement would even see the airport being included as part of Schengen.

“The arrangement we are looking at would solve the mobility conundrum and the ability of persons to move goods with them,” Picardo told the Lords.

“It would permit the wholesale and commercial movement of goods into Gibraltar without Customs friction.

“It would be a common travel area between Gibraltar and the Schengen travel area.

“It may be that we have a different legal form in coming weeks which is more acceptable to the European Commission, UK, Gibraltar and Spain.”

Schengen model

Picardo revealed it was unlikely to mean Gibraltar would have full membership of both Schengen and the Customs Union treaties.

“Whether it is full or associated membership of Schengen or extension of Schengen or simply treating the frontier, ports and airport at Gibraltar as Schengen entry points, is the subject of our final considerations,” said Picardo.

“We want to find a way that is agreeable to all the parties and doesn’t cross any of the sovereignty, jurisdiction and control red lines each of us bring to the table.”

He said Gibraltar would not take part in the single market despite this new arrangement.

He added that even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, talks with Spain could continue after December 31.

“I don’t think anybody will gain with a no deal,” said Picardo. 

“Life will be very different and we will lose a lot of the mobility and other advantages.

“What we are providing for would only ensure that the essentials can continue to flow.”

While Picardo said it would be ‘devilishly difficult’ to make a Gibraltar deal without a UK-EU deal, ‘it would still be possible’ even after the transition period ends.

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