SPAIN and UK have agreed that Gibraltar will become part of Schengen with a level playing field on all areas.
The Gibraltar air and sea port borders will be managed by Frontex for four years, giving Gibraltar the chance to avoid a hard Brexit.
The new arrangements will be managed by Spain, on behalf of the EU, as the neighbouring country to the Rock.
Spain and UK will then have to sign a full treaty in the future once all the details have been worked out.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo thanked the Spanish and British governments after the talks went ‘down to the wire’.
The agreement will give the shared prosperity proposal the green light although the details still have to be worked out.
It will allow free movement of goods and people between Gibraltar and Spain as well as the rest of the EU.
Agreements will be made on the environment, social security, citizens’ rights, documents and ‘the level playing field’.
Facial recognition cameras will operate at the present border with increased security to monitor entry to the Rock.
It is believed that UK residents will have to enter Gibraltar as third country residents as the territory will be part of Schengen but not its people.
There will be two controls at the air and sea ports, one into Schengen with Frontex officials and the other into Gibraltar controlled by the Borders and Coastguard Agency.
The treaty to be signed would be between the European Commission and the UK, therefore making it harder for it to be cancelled by a future Spanish administration.
The Chief Minister said that if it was not for this agreement it ‘would have been very difficult economically and socially’.
“We believe we will now be able to reset our relationship with Spain and cast it in a more positive light going forward,” said Picardo.
“After many months of hard work we have reached an in principle agreement between the UK and Spain.
“It is for a proposed framework for a UK-EU agreement or treaty for Gibraltar’s relationship with the EU.”
UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said Gibraltar was in close contact with Picardo throughout the last 24 hours.
“We remain steadfast in our support for Gibraltar and its sovereignty,” Raab said as the agreement was announced.
“All sides are committed to mitigating the effects of the end of the Transition Period on Gibraltar, and in particular ensure border fluidity, which is clearly in the best interests of the people living on both sides.”
Despite the relief, a seventh COVID-19 death of an elderly person was reported on the Rock.
The Chief Minister asked the people to respect the New Year’s Eve curfew and stay home tonight.